Sheep resurgence on show

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Bob GarnantCountryman
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Visitors from India at the ram shed included Baljinder , Balraj, Sant, Gurdev  and Gurcharan Singh.
Camera IconVisitors from India at the ram shed included Baljinder , Balraj, Sant, Gurdev and Gurcharan Singh. Credit: Bob Garnant

Sheep were as ever popular at the Dowerin GWN7 Machinery Field Days in a time when both wool and sheepmeat are enjoying a resurgence in farm profitability.

At the Bayer Avenge Ram Shed, livestock co-ordinator Brett Jones said both days at Dowerin were the busiest in recent years with plenty of inquiries.

This sentiment was shared at the Milne Marquee where both Merino and meat sheep breeds were on display.

And a good sign of renewed interest was at the nearby Waratah fencing site.

Waratah regional sales manager Paul Jones said there was interest from a farmer who was keen to put up new fencing to restock sheep.

Back at the sheep shed, Nannup sheep producers Mark and Kim Pattulo were looking to find out more information about electronic tags.

“They offer more security and traceability,” Mr Pattulo said.

The inquiries follow the Victorian Government’s recent decision to mandate RFID tags on all sheep and goats born after January 1, 2017.

This issue drew criticism at Dowerin, particularly from Sheepmeat Council of Australia chairman Jeff Murray.

“While most stud breeders are using electronic tags in WA, if the State was to go down that path, a mandate would be an added impost on commercial sheep breeders,” he said.

“With Victoria’s mandate, this will send mixed signals and confusion to overseas buyers who sourced their sheep from Australia.”

Agriculture Minister Dean Nalder said he would not support a WA mandate as there was enough identification of sheep already in place.

“I am not intent on creating any additional burden on sheep producers and we will continue to monitor the situation if there is a push for a national mandate,” he said.

“If, and when, the industry takes the lead in mandating electronic tagging in WA, will it find my support.”

Eastville Park stud principal Rob Mullan said he was not currently using electronic tags but planned to include them soon as a management tool.

“Tagging is adequate at the moment, however electronic tags will be good for the stud industry but doesn’t need to be mandated into commercial enterprises as a cost burden,” he said.

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