As you know from previous blogs, we received finance from the NAB bank on 1st March 2022. This has enabled us to rebuild and again show what is possible with livestock farming. We have recently bought 511 new ewes, 50 of which were already in-lamb and due to lamb from 25th April. All of our ewes are either lambing, or are with rams. We are on the rebuild. No more selling ewes for awhile and dry ewes will be given a second chance until next year, when all being well, we should be close to our target of 5,000-5,500 ewes on our 185ha.
When we reach that target, then dry ewes will not be given a second chance and we will start culling on many features, or lack of features. This includes being much less tolerant of a deficient udder, poor feet and structure, infertility and checking ewes udders at marking to see who has lost their lambs. We will also then be able to monitor individual ewe lamb growth rates and letting worm pressure rise for a little while just so that we can detect who is at the bottom end for worm resistance. When they are identified, they will be drenched but drafted out and looked after separately in the cull mob from where they will be sold as soon as they reach the right weight and condition.
As of today, we now have 403 wethers (late born in 2021), 49 rams, and 2610 ewes. We need to double our ewe numbers as quickly as possible and we are doing that by buying some ewes (no more funds available to purchase more), keeping all ewes for awhile, and putting rams back in the week of the last lambs being due. Fertilising has been done to set the base and more will be applied when needed as much as we financially can.
The ewe lambs currently being born (April 2022) will be joined to rams at the end of this year. I expect more than half of them will have a lamb on the ground by the time they are 12 months old, and will be joined again with the rams.
I don't like DSE (dry sheep equivalent) ratings as they are rubbery. People ask for that information, but it is rubbery and a moving target. For example, to do it accurately, you need to know the weight of every animal and whether it is gaining, maintaining or losing weight. Ewes with lambs at foot to work out their dse depends on how many lambs she has, and how much milk they are taking out of her. But for those who want to know, I will endeavour to keep a track of our DSE's/ha on our Agriwebb software.
So using the DSE chart from NSW Ag (https://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/agriculture/budgets/livestock/sheep-gross-margins-october-2015/background/dse), and using our last known weights of each mob and knowledge of lambs at foot or scanned in lamb numbers, our current DSE total works out to be 7961, or 39 DSE/ha. The real figure could be 20% lower or higher than that but I certainly am not going to try and weigh each ewe and lamb while she is lambing or has the lambs at foot and also measure the lambs growth rates. It's the best guesstimate I can make at the moment. I aim to be in the 60-90DSE/ha range all year when we are at our peak numbers. We have a long way to go, but will get there as quickly as we can. Below are some recent photos and comments at the bottom of each photo.