How intensive sheep farmers can improve traceability and profits
Farmer's Weekly|January 21, 2022
Intensive sheep farming has given eastern Free State farmer Gareth Angus the opportunity to increase his lambs’ survival rate, boost profits and ensure traceability from birth to farm gate, while also decreasing predation and elemental risk. Susan Marais visited Angus’s farm during the 2021 LRF Stockman School.
By Susan Marais, Photography by Susan Marais
How intensive sheep farmers can improve traceability and profits

Long gone are the days when sheep were produced on sleepy farms where the animals were simply left on the veld for days without having any contact with the farmer. These days, farmers have to manage their flocks with far greater care due to the risks posed by stock theft and predation.

Gareth Angus runs Merino sheep, cattle (Simmentaler and Simbra) and game with his father on Wisp-Will Farm near Arlington in the eastern Free State. He is in charge of the sheep component.

SPRING AND AUTUMN LAMBING

“We divide the sheep into two flocks: a spring and an autumn-lambing flock,” Angus says.

The spring group lambs from the beginning of September until mid-October, while the autumn group lambs from mid-May until the end of June. Both do so in staggered subgroups. “Each group of ewes lambs once a year. As a result, we have two lambing seasons per annum.”

All maiden ewes (two-tooth) are put to the ram at 18 months old. Teaser rams are used initially for 11 days at three or four rams per 100 ewes, followed by breeding rams for 34 days at the same ratio.

Willie Krüger, a sales representative at RFID Experts/BKB, demonstrates how easy it is to use radio frequency identification system technology.

This story is from the January 21, 2022 edition of Farmer's Weekly.

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This story is from the January 21, 2022 edition of Farmer's Weekly.

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