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Dr Steven Johnston. Utilising the genetic pool. NI Red Meat Task Force Strategy. 1 full time job = 2000 ewes Annual stocking rate 10 ewes/ha Use of easycare selected genetics Grass/forage based systems Minimal fixed costs 1.75 lambs reared per ewe to ram. What is global reality ?.

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Dr Steven Johnston

Utilising the genetic pool


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NI Red Meat Task Force Strategy

  • 1 full time job = 2000 ewes

  • Annual stocking rate 10 ewes/ha

  • Use of easycare selected genetics

  • Grass/forage based systems

  • Minimal fixed costs

  • 1.75 lambs reared per ewe to ram


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What is global reality ?

  • In NZ productivity as measured by kgs of lamb/ewe has increased by 3.7% per annum during recent years. (NI at best 0.4%).

  • Less than 5% of rams are sold at ram fairs (Feed them for sales attitude persists in NI).

  • Genetic evaluations are across breed (Within breed in NI).

  • Typically2000+ ewes per labour unit with low fixed costs (NI – High quality lambs at any cost).


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What are the characteristics of a good ewe?

  • Mated early in the 1st cycle

  • 60kg ewe cheap on winter feed

  • Trouble free outdoor lambing

  • Twin lambs vigorous from birth

  • Grass fed achieving 300g/day until weaning

  • Wean 1kg lamb/kg ewe to ram

  • Less animal health treatments


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What are the characteristics of a good ewe?

  • Mated early in the 1st cycle

  • 60kg ewe cheap on winter feed

  • Trouble free outdoor lambing

  • Twin lambs vigorous from birth

  • Grass fed achieving 380g/day until weaning

  • Wean 1kg lamb/kg ewe to ram

  • Less animal health treatments


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Creating a Maternal Composite

Combine complementary breeds

NZRomney – Can perform in a wide range of outdoor lambing grass fed conditions, good feet

+ Finn – fertility (too much?), small lambs, lambing ease, free from prolapse, high fat milk, medium udder small teats(<mastitis), hard teeth

+ NZ Texel – increased lamb birthweight, wool bulk & survival, carcase conformation

= Highlander Maternal Composite



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Highlander™ EWE EFFICIENCY INDEX

Number of

lambs born

x

Survival rate

Carcass weight

x

Length of reproductive life

x

Mature ewe weight


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