Sheep Management

Current Version

ANPR-350-450 was originally issued in 2008. It was created with funding provided by the Sheep CRC supported by MLA and AWI. UNE, charged with creating the unit, initially presented the material with lecture notes in DOC and PDF format, and included copies of of many of the references appended to the lectures. Presentations in Powerpoint format were also provided for each topic.

The module was revised in 2012. The revision reduced the number of topics from 16 to 12. Powerpoint presentations were no longer included with the material. Copies of references were also removed.

Topic 01: Overview of Sheep Management

On completion of this topic you should be able to:

  • demonstrate an appreciation of the differences between husbandry and management of sheep
  • outline the importance of weaner management practices, including feeding, in the whole farm enterprise
  • understand the impact of the calendar of husbandry operations on production
  • use the key principles that will enable prioritisation and organisation of management events in order to achieve the most profitable compromise for a farm
  • compare management choices, such as supplementary feeding, that can be made to modulate meat and wool production and quality in young and/or adult sheep
  • understand the main management factors affecting the economics of sheep production

Topic 02: Reproduction Management

At the end of this topic you should:

  • Understand the important components of reproduction and to appreciate the potential that exists to improve reproductive performance.
  • Identify the relative merits of various genetic and animal management strategies in improving the reproduction rate of the flock.
  • Appreciate the importance of nutrition as a major determinant of reproductive performance and to recognise the importance of “lifetime management”.
  • Understand the role that technology has in improving the productivity of genetically elite ewes and rams and to assess the potential for further improvement.
  • Appreciate the significance of what increases in reproductive performance mean in terms of the economic value of the national flock.

Topic 03: Joining, Lambing and Lamb Management

Students will understand:

  • key factors that determine effective ewe conception rates
  • factors that influence ram fitness for joining
  • how real time ultrasound scanning fits into an annual flock reproduction program
  • the range of predators that influence lamb survival
  • the differences between primary and secondary predation
  • how to identify different reasons why lambs die from birth to two weeks of age
  • the importance of monitoring post-weaning growth and fat score in meeting a target market
  • pasture or feed requirements for both ewes and lambs post-weaning
  • the importance of ewe fat score recovery between weaning and their next joining

Topic 04: Pasture and Grazing Management

On completion of this topic you should be able to:

  • outline the key principles behind pasture establishment and grazing management of pastures
  • demonstrate a thorough understanding of grazing management concepts and the science behind grazing management principles
  • evaluate the economics of weed control
  • discuss relevant literature relating to grazing management and sustainability
  • access and utilise recent research and extension efforts describing sustainable grazing systems and recognise the difference between anecdotal claims and objective evidence
  • Understand some of the important differences in the capacity of different pasture species to support sustainable wool production and the important influences of fertiliser, stocking rate and grazing management

Topic 05: Managing for Economic and Resource Sustainability

On completion of this topic you should have an:

  • Appreciation of the background to the current focus on sustainability in Australia and elsewhere
  • Introduction to sustainable management practices
  • Understanding of the key economic principles associated with sustainability
  • Understanding of spillover effects from farms
  • Introduction to how government can promote sustainability

Topic 06: Marketing of Sheep and Sheepmeat

At the end of this topic you should be able to:

  • Have an understanding of the different components of the pre-slaughter period for sheep.
  • Discuss sheep management practices in relation to impacts on food safety, animal welfare, meat quality, meat yield, environmental contamination, and biosecurity.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the optimal management of sheep during the pre-slaughter period.
  • Access and utilise recent research and extension material describing effective pre-slaughter management.

Topic 07: Farm Management Methods

At the end of this topic you should be able to:

  • know the correct situations in which to apply a gross margin budget
  • know the items to be included in gross margin and whole-farm budgets
  • understand how to interpret the results of a gross margin estimate and a whole-farm budget
  • know how to analyse production and price risk using gross margin models
  • demonstrate an understanding of financing and the costs of financing the farm

Topic 08: Economics of Sheep Production

At the end of this topic you should be able to:

  • explain the process by which market prices are formed and the functions they fulfil in the sheep industry
  • identify factor-factor and factor-product relationships, and examine these relationships in the context of economic optimisation in the sheep enterprise
  • identify the factors influencing the supply of sheep products to markets, and understand how supply influences markets
  • identify the factors influencing demand for sheep products so as to be able to examine how demand factors influence markets
  • apply the concept of derived demand in the economic analysis of sheep production
  • demonstrate a thorough understanding of the product-product relationships in sheep enterprises and between sheep and other important enterprises in Australian agriculture
  • discuss the impacts of management decisions relating to optimal enterprise combinations and optimal combinations of activities within the sheep enterprise (ANPR450)
  • access and use recent research and extension material describing the economics of dual-purpose sheep production systems.

Topic 09: Precision Management and Benchmarking

On completion of this topic you should be able to:

  • define what drives profitability in sheep enterprises
  • describe the role of technologies that allow precision sheep management
  • appreciate how benchmarking methods can be applied to compare performance in sheep production between farms
  • demonstrate a thorough understanding of the tools used in benchmarking
  • understand the range of techniques that can be used to estimate technical efficiency and productivity
  • be able to estimate efficiency indices using data envelopment analysis

Topic 10: Discounted Cash Flow Analysis

At the end of this topic you should be able to:

  • Demonstrate a thorough understanding of the concept of discounted cash flow analysis
  • Apply discounted cash flow analysis to investment decisions in the sheep enterprise, covering the valuation of rams, disease outbreaks, investment in research and development (R&D) and valuing environmental change.

Topic 11: Managing Risk in Sheep Production

The aim of this topic is to introduce students to:

  • the nature of decision making under uncertainty;
  • construction and analyse of decision trees;
  • methods for the analysis of risky decisions that can be used in sheep production;
  • methods to mitigate production and price risk and
  • planning for risk management in sheep production

Topic 12: Legal Issues in Sheep Regulation

On completion of this topic you should have:

  • An understanding of some of the key legal issues which confront those managing sheep enterprises
  • An awareness of the law’s approach to dealing with the welfare and care of sheep
  • An understanding of how to identify a legal problem in relation to sheep enterprises and when to seek professional legal advice
  • An introduction to how the law approaches the business of sheep enterprises