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'Know your flock' sheep clubs rolled out for Wales
6:00am Friday 26th October 2012 in News
Whilst the business of farming isn’t necessarily comparable with many other trades there is one overarching business principle that agriculture can adhere to and that is to ‘understand your performance’ according to Independent Consultant Dr Catherine Nakielny.
In practical terms this means identifying a number of key performance indicators or ‘KPIs’ which drive output and subsequent profitability.
New Farming Connect Business Clubs have been developed with this in mind and aim to provide producers with an opportunity to focus on business performance. Within the sheep sector Farming Connect has teamed up with Catherine Nakielny and will be delivering a programme of ‘Know your flock’ Business Clubs to groups across Wales The ‘Know your flock’ Business Clubs will provide Welsh producers with an ideal opportunity to consider current flock performance and changes that can lead to improvements in profitability.
Three key areas of flock performance as drivers of overall efficiency and profitability will be considered: tupping, scanning and weaning. Each will be looked at in detail over a series of meetings and a number of performance indicators will be focused on for further consideration.
With tupping the starting point for the following seasons lamb crop the Business Clubs will work to gain a real understanding of the ewe flock. Ewe live-weight and condition score at tupping are key physical parameters for discussion along with ram management practices.
Lambs scanned sets the limit for flock output and business clubs will focus at the fertility of the flock. With good records on ewes pre-tupping the impact of ewe live-weight and condition score can be carefully considered. and with scanning results to hand predictions and targets for the number of lambs reared can be established The number and weight of lambs present at weaning is one of the main indicators of overall flock output and is consistently highlighted as a key driver of profitability. With the information collected at tupping and scanning, practical measures of ewe efficiency can be made. Performance indicators such as lamb growth rate provides further information on how the business is performing and allows for future feed budgeting leading up to the next tupping period.
Prysor Williams of Pandy Tudur Farm, is a member of the ‘Know your Flock’, Business Club. He farms suckler cows and store cattle, mainly improved Welsh and larger crossbred sheep. He says "although lamb value has improved considerably over the last few years, it's important not to take your eye off the ball and to always look for ways to improve efficiency and reduce costs. The Business Club is an excellent way to share ideas and learn from one another's mistakes, whilst all the while having impartial advice from expert consultants. I'm really grateful of the opportunity to become involved."
The ‘Know your flock’ Business Clubs are fully funded by Farming Connect. They are taking place across Wales over the coming months and if you would like to participate then please contact Menter a Busnes on 01970 636565.
Catherine Nakielny Catherine is a technical sheep specialist covering a variety of sheep production issues. Catherine has been involved in the sheep industry for over 15 years and has been working as an Independent Sheep Consultant for the last 31/2 years. Over this period Catherine has been involved in a number of research and demonstration projects ranging from sheep breeding and genetic improvement to parasite control and winter forage costs.
In 2011 Catherine was awarded a Nuffield scholarship and has since visited a number of countries including Ireland, New Zealand and Australia studying lamb production systems and new opportunities for improving flock profitability.
Following on from the scholarship and with an increasing need to consider the inputs required for lamb production and recent calls for ‘sustainable intensification’ Catherine has a particular interest in improving the efficiency of lamb production.