Bringing Back The Passion – How To Restore Enthusiasm In Sheep Farming For The Next Generation
Sheep farming is a unique industry stuck between traditional practice and the pressure to change. Traditional practices keep farmers doing what they love; being outside, hands dirty, and working with their animals. But there comes the point where farmers need to start looking at the farm’s legacy, and hopefully, finding a next-generation (possibly a family member) who can take over the business. So how do farmers keep the passion alive in their businesses and encourage the next generation to step in?
The BreedELITE Sheep System integrates modern technology with your existing practices to make breeding elite sheep more efficient, more profitable and even more enjoyable. Most importantly, the system grows with you and your needs.
Let’s look at some of the challenges sheep farming faces and how integrating some modern practices can prepare businesses for the future and keep the next generation interested in this wonderful industry.
Because of increasing expenses, labour cost, climate and market pressures, sheep farming is becoming a business of tight margins and critical decision making. Many farmers enter the industry due to their love for being outside. However, when you are responsible for the wellbeing of your livestock, farm, equipment and running a business, the workload can become relentless.
Add on the decision to start recording some basic data on your sheep to improve their performance and all of a sudden you can feel like the lifestyle job you came to farming for, very quickly feels like a chore.
How can a system like the BreedELITE Sheep System help farmers reduce their hours? For starters, having access to the software on the farm allows you to record information and make decisions on the spot based on data not guesswork. The software is built around the life cycle of your sheep and helps to manage production and schedules using a portable tablet, even if you are not connected to the internet.
This minimises night-time or rainy-day hours copying handwritten notes and gives you time back to do more enjoyable things. Coupled with labour saving technology like the BreedELITE Smart Drafter you can manage your sheep in a whole new way to increase labour efficiency across your farm (e.g. run larger mobs and then segregate them with ease at critical times like lambing). Many jobs in the yards also turn into 1 person jobs rather than requiring multiple people with the help of the BreedELITE Sheep System.
Unfortunately, the global pandemic is making extra labour harder to get in regional areas, which can mean more hours spent on the farm by the business owners. Not all jobs can be done with two hands, and the timing of jobs is often critical, especially when it comes to animal health. Usually, this means partners and kids are involved because there is simply no one else available. As most sheep farmers run a family business, the business’s success is critical to relationships and often the wider community.
Sheep drafting is one task which if performed manually, is time-consuming, labour intensive and can be complicated if you also need to track sheep weights or identify sheep down the race before you split them off. The BreedELITE smart drafter is 100% automated and requires minimal supervision, which means time and labour can be saved. It works in real time using data from the BreedELITE Sheep Software to allow you to draft based on any data combination or enter weights in against the sheep in real time.
Automating processes and integrating modern practices is a great way to get the kids involved, and they may be able to help you learn to drive the software too. As the next generation of farmers come through, they are more familiar with technology and prefer these systems to help manage workflows. It is all about efficiency in the new age, so working with these systems is a great way to keep the essence of traditional farming, with a few add-ons to increase their efficiencies and help keep the passion for sheep farming alive.
The BreedELITE Sheep System can not only give you time back to do more things with the family, but it might be a great way to get the younger ones involved in the farm and keep that enthusiasm running into the future.