Murdoch University animal and vet science students were given a masterclass in improving ram breeding efficiency at a special workshop that was organised and supported by industry.
The RAMping Up Repro, an industry workshop developed by Zoetis and Australian Wool Innovation, was held at the on-campus veterinary farm and attended by 45 students who improved their knowledge in key areas relating to ram reproduction through hands-on activities and presentations from industry experts.
Participants learned how ram management influences breeding success, and the follow-on benefits of best practise ram management for wool and sheep meat businesses. Supporting topics including anatomy, physiology, nutrition, health management and biosecurity were also covered by the presenters to round out the students’ understanding.
Presenter Dr Michylla Seal from Genstock, said they were pleased to support the workshop and it was great to work with so many students with great enthusiasm for the sheep industry.
“The main focus of these workshops is to give attendees the skills to assess and manage rams that ensure they perform like elite athletes for maximum breeding efficiency,” Dr Seal said.
“I was very impressed with the students’ involvement and discussions during the day. As a business owner providing services to sheep producers in artificial breeding and flock health, it is reassuring to have young people keen to enter the industry. We were thrilled to have the opportunity to support their training,” said Dr Seal.
Other speakers included Jarvis Polglaze from animal health company Zoetis who highlighted the importance of good vaccination techniques for sheep health and human safety.
Dr Tom Clune, who is currently undertaking a PhD research project at Murdoch, helped to demonstrate the breeding soundness inspection on rams.
First-year animal health and animal science student Kirsty Blakemore said the workshop helped her get to grips on the challenges of reproductive health in rams. “The workshop helped me get a glimpse into the world I want to be in, as livestock health is what I believe to be my passion,” she said.
Veterinary medicine student Ben Madlener said the workshop provided students with critical pre-joining examination skills and presented the critical managerial aspects of sheep reproduction.
“I hope to be able to apply this broad knowledge during my clinical placements in the following years through an understanding that there is no blanket rule for each farming business and that each requires its own best practice management plan,” he said.
From Left to Right: Animal Science student Kirsty Blakemore, Genstock veterinarian Dr Michylla Seal, veterinarian and researcher Dr Tom Clune, and veterinary science student Ben Madlener examine a ram at the RAMping Up Repro workshop held at Murdoch University
Workshop organiser Associate Professor Caroline Jacobson said the session was a great opportunity for students to gain hands on experience and networking opportunities with industry.
“These industry workshops are a terrific way for our students to see how they can apply the theoretical knowledge learnt throughout their studies to improve profitability of sheep enterprises,” Professor Jacobson said.
Australian Wool Innovation and Zoetis developed the workshop and sponsored student attendance via The Sheep’s Back.
Emily King, Program Manager, Research and Extension at AWI said the interest in the workshop was a promising sign for the future of the sheep and wool industry.
“It’s encouraging to see so much interest in the sheep and wool industry from students and we hope the RAMping Up Repro course provided not only a masterclass on ram health but an insight into how industry workshops are structured and delivered by experienced industry consultants, like Dr Seal,” she said.
The RAMping Up Repro workshops complement AWI’s popular Lifetime Ewe Management course which helps woolgrowers manage the nutrition of their breeding ewes and maximise reproduction efficiency.
For more information on upcoming RAMping Up Repro workshops in your area, contact AWI’s grower network for your state.