Review/Oorsig Volume 23, Issue 02 - Page 16

Oorsig/Review Revisiting the STAR Sheep Production System EC V OC V NO NO Dr Dave Midgley 07 B FE 18 B FE 01 2 R 0 MA T 2 OCT 24 8 8 R 0 MA 20 MAR OCT 1 15 MAR 3 21 OCT 07 MAR 27 OCT 01 APR 02 SEP 23 APR 08 SEP 19 APR 1 4 APR 3 EP 1 S AP 7 P 0 M 20 M 20 AY 08 14 2 6 MA Y 0 AY G AU G AU P SE R 2 01 SE 20 Fig 1. STAR Sheep Production System (Source: http://blogs.cornell.edu/newsheep/management/reproduction/star-management/) Soon after starting in private practice in Riversdale in 1984, I started investigating and implementing multiple lambing systems. At the first Farmers Association Meeting (“Boerevereniging- vergadering”) I attended, I asked those present who were weaning over 100% and had no response. The best I could find was in the high “90’s”! Soon afterwards, in conjunction with the National Wool Growers Association (NWGA), we started an incentive scheme named “Club 120” where farmers achieving this “mighty goal” were recognised with a framed certificate for reaching or surpassing a weaning percentage of 120%. 16 Mating and lambing down sheep on a yearly basis has never made sense to me. In my mind lambing down every 8 months was simulating what beef cattle farmers were doing i.e. mating again 3 months after parturition. Mating half the flock every 4 months with, or in, an eight month cycle was the option most of my clients opted for. I still do not see lambing down every 8 months as an “intensive system” – let alone lambing down every 9 months! The STAR-system, on the other hand, comes down to farming with sheep on the same principles