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Sheep, beef & deer sessions

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Stream 1 - Monday 6 April

Farmers are driven to increase the total weight of lamb available for sale per ewe to improve productivity and one means of doing this is through increased lambing percentages. Higher lambing percentages however are associated with a greater proportion of triplet lambs. Triplet ewes and their lambs are compromised and have specific management needs. This presentation identifies current optimal management strategies based on research and identifies areas needing further investigation.

Body condition scoring subjectively assess the degree of fatness or condition. There are positive relationships for most production measures and farmers are increasingly aware of these. However uptake of the tool is poor due to it being perceived as labour intensive. This presentation discusses the advantages of body condition scoring and approaches being developed to allow live weight to be used as an accurate predictor of body condition score.


Stream 1 - Tuesday 7 April

New evidence shows significant variations in the relative seasonal growth performance of red deer. Some genetic lines show superiority of growth during autumn and spring, while others continue to grow during winter. This paper explores the questions: are seasonal growth differences due to greater intake or are they more efficient at utilising energy? Another question we explore is how can we develop more resource efficient farming systems using different genetics in different environments?

Rather than asking if targeted selective treatments (TSTs) work, should we be asking if our current control strategies do? There is good evidence that TSTs do slow the development of resistance. However, the implementation of any TST regime requires additional inputs in the form of either time, labour or capital expenditure that has to be balanced against the anticipated benefits.

Reduced productive longevity and increased wastage of commercial ewes poses a significant cost to both New Zealand farmers and the wider sheep industry. However, there was a lack of research and data related to ewe wastage (the combination of premature culling and on-farm mortality) in New Zealand sheep flocks. This presentation will outline key results of a long-term research project undertaken by researchers at Massey University investigating this issue.

Selection of animals that are either resistant or resilient to gastro-intestinal nematodes is a debated option for sustainable parasite control strategies. Resistance results in lower contamination but these animals seem to lose the battle of productivity. Here we report on a farmlet study with these lines to determine if the epidemiological advantage of resistance outweighs the apparent trade-off with performance. So while the battle may be lost, can they win the war?


Stream 1 - Wednesday 8 April

Summary to come.

Summary to come.

Selection of animals that are either resistant or resilient to gastro-intestinal nematodes is a debated option for sustainable parasite control strategies. Resistance results in lower contamination but these animals seem to lose the battle of productivity. Here we report on a farmlet study with these lines to determine if the epidemiological advantage of resistance outweighs the apparent trade-off with performance. So while the battle may be lost, can they win the war?