Insight from feedlot and port visit

The West Australian

Members of the 100%+ Club for sheep producers have gained further insight into the supply chain and market stakeholders from their visit to an export feedlot and tour of a livestock export ship.

The 100%+ Club program is part of the More Sheep Initiative, an industry-wide collaboration between the Department of Agriculture and Food and the Sheep Industry Leadership Council (SILC), aimed at increasing productivity and securing the future of WA's sheep industry.

Department sheep leader Steve Gherardi said the field day for 100%+Club members successfully helped build the capacity of participating producers.

"Producers from Manjimup, Narrogin, Pingelly, Darkan, Gairdner, Katanning, Dandaragan and Wagin participated in the tour and visited the Mundijong Export Quarantine Depot to see first-hand how the operation works," Dr Gherardi said.

"Accompanied by WA Live Exporters' Association chairman John Edwards, producers viewed a consignment of 70,000 sheep being prepared for export.

"Activities included shearing, drafting into categories as per overseas buyer requirements, acclimatising to pellet feed, and inspecting to ensure the shipment met Australian Standards for the Export of Livestock and importing country protocols."

A tour to Fremantle Port enabled producers to see first-hand the conditions onboard a livestock vessel and how live export sheep travel to overseas markets.

Producers also heard from department research officer Beth Paganoni about research that examined why the reproduction in younger Merinos was not a high as other sheep breeds.

Ms Paganoni said the department research examined the reproductive performance on 224 young ewes from 10 different sires.

"The study found a 20 per cent increase in lambs born when sires were four kilos heavier than average, confirming that heavier sires could play an important in increased reproduction rate in Merino flocks," she said.

"This information could be vital in increasing the productivity and profitability of WA sheep enterprises."

100%+ club members will have an opportunity later in the year to attend a similar event visiting a sheep meat processor.

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