Eyre Peninsula Agricultural Research Foundation
Pregnancy Scanning and Training Workshop Final Report
Tuesday 27th, Wednesday 28th February and Thursday 1st March
Run by Advanced Farm Systems. Philip & Sally Schoeffel
The aim of Pregnancy Scanning workshops was to increase the uptake of famers undertaking pregnancy scanning of ewes to enable better flock management decisions. Pregnancy scanning has become an important tool in managing reproductive performance in ewe flocks. It enables producers to make informed management decisions that will improve productivity and profitability of their sheep enterprise
Philip Schoeffel, Advanced Farm Systems, Coffs Harbour NSW has held Livestock Ultra Sound Workshops for Breeders in the Eastern States for over ten years. Philip and his partner Sally teach farmers the basic principles about ultrasound scanning in sheep and cattle, why it is important for production and profitability, how it is undertaken using contractors or how farmers can become trained to scan their own livestock.
Three workshops were held at Minnipa, Cowell and Ungarra on properties with the farmers providing about 30 sheep to scan.
The program for each day included:-
Morning session (9am-12pm) – Information session from Philip Schoeffel, with input from Jess Crettenden as to why pregnancy scanning is important, benefits to the sheep enterprise, productivity and profitability increase, managing resources etc.
Afternoon session (1pm-5pm) demonstration/training of ultrasound pregnancy scanning with ewes combining practical and theory sessions in the yards and shed.
Three workshops were held across Eyre Peninsula with a total of 30 people (including 4 women) attending the events.
At the conclusion of each workshop participants were asked to complete an evaluation form.
Twenty-four forms were returned with the following information provided. Participants ranged in age from 15- 25 (3) to over 65 (1) with the majority in the age range 26 – 35 (7). There was six (6) in the 46-55 age range, four (4) in the 36-45 age group and three (3) in the 56-65.
The farmers were ask for some information about their farming business. They indicated that, collectively they managed over 65,000 ha with the largest being 8,000 ha, ten properties were between 2,000 – 3,000ha, eight were below 2,000 ha and the remaining 6 properties were over 4,000 ha.
Collectively they managed 43,405 sheep of which 28,140 were ewes. The participants sold 1,277 bales of wool and 14,780 lambs last year.
At the conclusion of the workshops, participants were asked what information was most useful to them and their business.
Feedback was very positive with many respondents having the same or similar responses. Below is a summary of the responses received:-
Information on % of lambs increases, productivity potential and understanding the benefits of identifying multiples and early joiners to increase profits and ease of management
Price of the equipment and the availability of technology
How the scanning equipment worked and being able to recognize lambs on the screen
Hand on experience, learning how to scan and information about the scanner
Different applications for everyone
Pleasant manner the workshop was presented and the information was good
Ease of operations, and able to have hands on experience with the equipment
Getting to try scanning yourself, the type of equipment used and the benefits of scanning ewes
Discussion on identifying singles and twins and what technology can do for birth rates
Getting together with other farmers and learning how to get more out of your sheep
Importance of timing when scanning and when to take the ram out for early pregnancy
Scanning in a shed
Identifying singles and twin – good to know the options for the flock after scanning.
The possibility of more profit and the ability to manage better
Hand on testing was fabulous, learning about specific machine rather than the “range” of ultrasound machines.
Philip Schoeffel, Advanced Farm Systems, instructing participants as they practice scanning ewes.
All participants said they would implement some changes as a result of the workshop. They identified the following activities:-
Getting ewes in good condition before putting the rams in
Start scanning for wet and dry at least (2)
Will definitely get ewes pregnancy tested
Scan every year after joining (5)
Look into scanning and manage flock for efficiently, adjusting nutrition accordingly (3)
Scan multiples, possibly identify early joiners (2)
Look into Pregnancy Scanning with maybe owning own gear in future
I may scan ewes to take out dry ones and sell (2)
Looking at getting own scanner to scan when removing rams plus later
Test during crutching
Aim to get rid of baron sheep and improve lambing percentage
Treat singles and twins differently.