STRATEGIES TO BOOST THE PRODUCTIVITY OF YOUR EWE FLOCK

TARGETED genetic selection, good animal nutrition and best practice management will produce high performance sheep that maximise profits.

Australian sheep industry leaders are promoting the benefits of using a range of industry tools to breed animals that are highly adapted to the local environment and target markets, and to manage flocks to optimise reproduction rates, the survival of lambs, ewes and weaners, and animal growth rates.

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WOOL PRODUCERS EMBRACE GENOMICS

PRODUCERS of Australia’s finest wool are embracing new genomic technologies to improve the quality of their flocks and their fleeces.

At a seminar of the Australia Superfine Wool Growers Association (ASWGA) in Canberra last Saturday, sheep producers and ram breeders heard first hand of the new opportunities presented by the latest in DNA technology.

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BACKERS FLOCK TO ‘SHEEP SHOE’

CAITRIONA MURPHY

Two transition year students who invented a ‘Sheep Shoe’ to treat foot root in sheep have been approached by a number of companies interested in bringing their prototype to the market.

The boys — Conor McGrath (16) and Shaun McGloinn (15) — are in talks with shoe manufacturer Dubarry about manufacturing their creation on a larger scale.

The pair have already sold more than 200 to customers all over Ireland, from Armagh to Kerry, but have been under pressure to make the shoes by hand. Now, their aim is to increase production significantly with the help of Dubarry.

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SHEEP CLONED WITH ‘GOOD FAT’ FROM WORM: SCIENTISTS

TAN EE LYN

Chinese scientists have cloned a genetically modified sheep containing a “good” type of fat found naturally in nuts, seeds, fish and leafy greens that helps reduce the risk of heart attacks and cardiovascular disease.

“Peng Peng,” which has a roundworm fat gene, weighed in at 5.74 kg when it was born on March 26 in a laboratory in China’s far western region of Xinjiang.

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FDA REGULATIONS TO ALTER DRUG USE IN U.S. LIVESTOCK

TIM THORNBERRY

Last week the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) introduced possible regulations that would change the way antibiotics are used on the farm, in the name of public health.

The agency is suggesting three steps to “promote the judicious use of medically important antibiotics in food-producing animals.” For years producers have used drugs, including antibiotics, in production to help prevent illness in animals and promote growth. Some animal feed manufacturers have included small amounts of antibiotics in their products.

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NOT YOUR AVERAGE DAIRY

ROBYN SCHERER

When many people think of a dairy, they think of black and white cows. Some may even think of a goat dairy. However, a dairy located in Bushnell, Neb., is neither of those species. This dairy is a sheep dairy, and one of only about 100 in the U.S.

Sheep have been milked for centuries in Europe, but the industry is very much in its infancy in the United States. The Irish Cream Sheep Dairy was started in 1995 by the Halligan Family, who had been in the business of raising sheep for nearly 30 years.

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U.S. AGENCY WARNS OF SKIN LESIONS FROM GOATS, SHEEP

DAVID BEASLEY

People can contract skin lesions from goats and sheep infected with the Orf virus through household meat preparation or when slaughtering the animals, a federal agency said on Thursday in a report aimed at doctors in ethnically diverse communities.

The Orf virus – sometimes misdiagnosed as a more serious disease such as anthrax – is most commonly transmitted to humans on farms. It has also been reported in children who visited petting zoos and livestock fairs, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

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