The Importance and Relevance of Sheep in Everyday Life By Georgia Leva
Hello!My name is Georgia Leva I am from St Paul’s Grammar school. I have been studying agriculture for the past year; as a part of the course of study I completed a unit about sheep which I found particularly interesting. I am also a part of St Paul’s Agriculture show team as well as riding horses competitively and breeding Lowlines. I am very passionate about agriculture and plan to expand my knowledge and become an Agriculture teacher in the future.
IntroductionThroughout the past semester in Agriculture I have been studying the primary uses of Sheep and their relevance to Australia and local farmers. I find sheep in agriculture particularly interesting due to the large role they play in the Australian economy, and also largely due to my passion for animals. Sheep have many areas of relevance in Australia: they provide consumers with wool for textile production, dairy and meat for consumption, and thus create Australian jobs. My slideshow intends to detail the sectors sheep are involved with in Agriculture, the importance of these, and why I find it so interesting; highlighting my passion for agriculture.
Some background Information• Sheep production is man’s oldest organized industry.• Sheep were first domesticated around 10,000 years ago in Central Asia. They helped to make the spread of civilization possible.• The first Sheep came to Australia with the first fleet in 1788, they were very different to the sheep farmed today. They had hairy fleece and fat tails, they were not suitable for food nor wool production in Australia.• Through time , sheep have been developed and changed to suit the conditions of Australia and to be used to their maximum potential.
Sectors Sheep are Involved in:• The three primary uses for sheep are: – Meat: Meat sheep are bred for the production of meat. They have long back lines and a large body mass to allow for the maximum amount of meat. Meat sheep are generally heavier in weight than other types of purpose bred sheep. Some sheep specifically bred for meat purposes in Australia are: Poll Dorset, Texel, Suffolk and Dorpers. – The meat industry is rapidly growing on both domestic and international markets, with consumers increasingly demanding a premium product. As at the 30th June 2007, there are 47,296 meat sheep farms in Australia with an estimated national flock of 85,711,000 sheep and lambs. The meat industry in Australia is booming, but with the effects of the drought the level of premium meat being sold locally and exported will soon decrease.
A good body structure allows for the sheep to be able to Survive properly, being able to eat, drink and cope with The environment.A long back line,allows for moremeat.Large bodymass allowsfor a largecarcass. A large breast area allows for more meat. A quality body structure also Helps to produce healthy strong lambs.
Sectors Sheep are Involved in: • Wool- Wool sheep are bred for the production of wool. A quality wool sheep will have a lot of wrinkles in its skin, wool covering its legs and top of its face. These characteristics are bred into wool sheep to produce the maximum amount of wool from each sheep. The sheep must be able to produce the best wool, the different classes of wool are superfine, fine, medium and strong these classes identify the strength of the wool. Some sheep specifically bred for wool farming are: Cormo, Polwarth and Merino. • Sheep and wool production occurs across much of central Australia because it has the best conditions for producing and farming wool sheep. Australias wool is considered to be the best wool in the world.
A good even coverage of wool all over the sheep.Wrinkles of A qualitywool around bodythe breast structurearea and helps toneck producecontributes to healthiera bigger betterfleece. quality lambs. Wool on the legs and down to the ground for a bigger fleece.
Sectors Sheep are Involved in: The Corriedale The Merino X• Dual Purpose- Dual Purpose sheep are bred both for the production of wool and meat. Dual purpose sheep are very versatile, they have all the characteristics of meat and wool sheep in one. They allow for the farmer to make maximum profit from both wool and meat sales. The Merino X is considered to be the ultimate dual purpose sheep, producing the finest quality wool along with prime meat. Throughout thousands of years the Merino X has been developed to improve its overall quality, although farmers and breeders still believe that a true dual-purpose sheep has not yet been perfected. The Corriedale is also bred to be a dual purpose sheep, with many similar characteristics as the Merino.
Sectors Sheep are Involved in:• Dairy-The sale of sheep milk or milk products is often more profitable than selling only meat or wool. The dairy sheep industry in Australia is quite small as it costs a lot to start-up and it may take several years to show a profit. Also the marketing of sheep-milk products is a challenge. Australia’s wool and meat industries have developed so far that the need for another sheep industry in Australia is very small. Some sheep bred for dairy are: Lacaune dairy, East Friesian dairy.
Some interesting facts• Lanolin found in sheep’s wool is actually sheep sweat!• There are local sheep races in some countries .• In some countries sheep are used for fighting.• There are about 1 billion sheep on the planet.• A baby lamb can identify its mother by her bleat.• Sheep prefer running water when they drink.• A castrated male sheep is called a wether.
Importance of Sheep• Sheep are a very to Australia. Their diverse by-products create a variety of job opportunities for Australians such as meat and wool farmers, butchers, textile workers, shearers, feed merchants as well as importers and exporters.• These job opportunities are a major contribution to Australia’s large and forever expanding economy. This contribution creates finance available to fund the sheep and other agricultural industries.
Importance of Sheep• Sheep are a well known Australian icon: the country is renowned by both tourists and locals to be filled with large farm lands, that muster thousands of sheep on motorcycle or typically on horseback. They are a major attraction at Agricultural shows, where both children and adults are involved.• Sheep are also excellent pets. They respond well to constant human handling, as well as being hardy, easy to look after and relatively cheap to keep.
The Big Merino- Australian wool iconThe Big Merino situated in Goulburn is a large tourist attraction.
My Interest in the Sheep Industry• Throughout agriculture this year, the study on sheep has been one of the most memorable parts. I enjoy not only learning theoretically about sheep, but also the ‘hands on’ experience. Being able to work with the sheep first hand has helped me to gain a greater understanding and appreciation for farmers. Throughout my life, I have had a passion for agricultural animals, and thoroughly enjoy the hands on experience and husbandry procedures involved with them. This year, I have had the opportunity to take part in farming practices such as drenching the sheep, lamb marking and mustering.
‘Hands on’ activities• Drenching: Drenching is my favourite thing to do when working with the sheep. Drenching is administering medicine for treatment or prevention from diseases such as liver fluke and barbers pole worm, these two diseases are internal parasites which are very common at St Pauls. We treat the sheep with a combination drench that treats all of the parasites at once. We often change the drench so that the worms do not become immune to the treatment, this is called resistance. The drench is administered through the sheep’s mouth using a drench gun. I have learnt how to set the gun to the right Heather (left) and myself measurements, read the drench bottle properly, Preparing to drench the find the average weight of the flock and the Sheep at school. appropriate PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) to wear.
‘Hands on’ activities• Lamb Marking: Lamb marking is a process which takes place a few weeks after the lamb is born to prepare it for its future life. Lamb marking consists of giving the lambs vaccinations for diseases; ear tagging: there are different colour tags for each year that a lamb is born and this year we used white ear tags. We also dock their tails using rubber bands so that it is less painful and safer for the lambs than cutting them off. The male lambs are castrated with the bands also. During the period of lamb marking some farmers choose to mules their sheep. Mulesing is cutting off the flap of skin from the breech (behind) area the of sheep. We do not do this at St Pauls. Instead, we shear the wool from the breech area to keep it clean. A few weeks after Lamb marking we wean the lambs from their mothers so that they can learn how to look after themselves.
‘Hands on’ activities• Mustering: One of the first things that I ever learnt when working with the animals in Agriculture is how to muster them. Mustering is used to round up most of the animals on the farm, we use this technique when yarding the sheep, cows, alpacas and even the chickens. Mustering is a lot of fun but if the whole class doesn’t work together it becomes quite a challenging task.
ConclusionStudying sheep in Agriculture this year has been an exciting and informative experience. It has allowed me to further my passion for animals, particularly those in the agriculture industry. Learning the history, the uses and the importance of sheep in Australia has also driven my passion for aspiring to further study and eventually work in the agricultural industry.
ConclusionThe importance of sheep in Australia should always be stressed: although many may think that such a humble animal could not possibly be so important, this in fact is not the case. Even if one is not involved in the agricultural industry, the major contribution that sheep make to the economy is beneficial for everyone.Sheep are vital to Australia’s agricultural industry. They create jobs and finance the country would fail without, and allow students like myself to pursue passions and enjoy the study as much as possible.