Lab report for sheep facility Essay

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ANS 41L Long Report about Sheep Industry The sheep facility we visited was started in 1880. It is a commercial sheep farm, which only has no purebred sheep. There are about 1300 ewes and 37 rams. Most of the sheep are crossbred with Rambouillet and Dorset genetic. All of them are white face sheep. The crossbred they have is to improve meat quality. Also, the way to choose ram is according to EPD value. Comparing the data we collect from the producer to the America Sheep Industry Association Survey 2010 data, we can find that some values are quit similar. For example, ASI 2010 survey shows that percentage of lamb born per ewe is 158.65%,and percentage of lamb wean is 145.80%. This sheep farm we visited have a 140% lambing and weaning percentage. There are still many differences. The breed this sheep farm has are only white face breeds. According to ASI 2010 survey, it show that producer on average keep 13.3% Suffolk and 9.5% Rambouillet in their flock. Suffolk is black face sheep. However, this producer keeps none of black face sheep. The producer gives reasons for why they have white face sheep instead of black face sheep. White face breed have longer longevity and better wool. They have relative less problems. So it is easier for them to keep white face sheep on the farm. The farm also does better in some aspects compare to the average data collect by ASI (ASI, 2010). For example, their culling percentage is 10%, which is much lower than 19.42% from the ASI survey. Their lambing season is different from common sheep industry. They have spring and fall two lambing seasons. The breeding times matched to these two laming time are May and October. The advantage for having these two lambing seasons is that there will be more and better forage after the lamb coming out. Most of the sheep are fall lambing. According to Cruces’s article, there are three different seasonal breeding: spring, fall and winter (Cruces, 2001). However, spring may be a better season for lambing than fall because it follows the sheep’s breeding and lambing time. Higher lamb crop will be expected in spring than fall (Cruces, 2001). Also, fall lambing will have more heat stress to deal with. However, this producer did not mention how he solves this problem. This farm did not use AI for breeding. AI is not common used by sheep industry. Although, AI can use frozen ram semen, which may benefic in reproduction, it is still too costly because the producer said that AI in sheep needs surgical procedure (Cruces, 2001). Castration and tail docking time are similar to common sheep industry. This farm does these procures early on one to two days age. Cruces stated that these procedures should be done by 7 to 10 day of age, the early the better (Cruces, 2001). The producer sated that it is less painful and faster recovery if the procedures are done at very early age. There are two aspects impressing me very much: grain-growing work with sheep rising and electrical recording system. One third of the total area is used to grow grain, depending on the seasons. The rest of the acres are pastures for sheep. The producer use sheep to clean up the field after the grain harvest. Sheep can clean up the left over, as well as the weeds. It is a very clever system because the sheep and grain production benefit each other. They can spend less time, money and energy. Also, the electronic microchip recording system amazed me. The ear tagging not only contains the number to show the identification of the sheep but also records the data of the sheep. When the producer scans the ear tagging, it will show the information of that sheep. It is a very convenient way to track each sheep, and the data is very easy to assess. However, the operation is still facing many challenging. As the