Which Sheep Do I keep?

Australian Wool Innovation - AWI

Type: Research Paper
Knowledge level: Advanced

Farm Table says:

History tells us that each drought or feeding period will bring its own unique circumstances. Sheep and wool prices, feed grain prices, and the resources available to handle the drought will vary between years and between farms within years.

A guide for sheep producers in drought

This guide looks at when confronted with a pasture shortage, sheep producers must determine whether to sell or supplementary feed all, some or none of the flock

To work it out you must be able to estimate the following:

  • the current value of the livestock
  • the probable cost of feeding
  • the value of any production that would be gained should sheep be kept
  • the future replacement value of the sheep

The answers to these questions are not straightforward or certain as they involve unknown future events. However, uncertainty is not an excuse for not planning and therefore this document aims to provide a robust framework from which an educated opinion can be formed and plans implemented.

There are three parts to this process:

  • first, some preparatory work that needs to be done so that you are organized enough to make the decision
  • the second is calculating the variables mentioned previously for each separate class of sheep in the flock
  • the last step is to put all of the information together to make the best possible decision

This looks at each of these processes in detail:

  1. Section 1: Preparatory work

Getting organized to make the decision involves separating your flock into different stock classes, making an assessment as to their current condition, and finding and analyzing historical rainfall information.

  • Section 2: Doing the sums

This section concentrates on how to do the sums to work out whether selling or feeding is likely to leave you in the best financial position at the end of the drought.

  • Section 3: The decision process

Having worked out the current value, the cost of feeding and the income generated over the feeding period for each class of sheep, you now have a basis for making your decision on whether or not to feed.

  • Section 4: Production feeding

Production feeding looks at the decision of whether to bring forward the normal sale of sheep or weather.

In conclusion, the guide states that f you are feeding to prepare an animal for sale you need to consider the additional value gained from doing so.

2013 - Australia - Australian Wool Innovation - AWI
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