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Trish Notes

Record Keeping

By Trisha Esson

Detailed record keeping is a vital part of any breeding program.

Records enable you to:

  1. To identify superior animals at an early age.
  2. Make more accurate animal selection thus speeding up genetic improvement.
  3. Measure progress towards your set goals.
  4. Upgrade standards when required, thus ensuring the continual development of the flock.
Ewe with newborn triplets all tagged.

Tagging lambs

All animals should be individually identified for the purpose of identification and recording. For the most accurate records, each lamb should be ear tagged soon after birth. Various types of tags are available, in either brass, aluminium, plastic or electronic. As electronic tagging systems are set up to minimise labour and allow you to efficiently gather data on each individual animal, it is probably wise to use electronic ear tags. Some State Departments of Agriculture are subsidising the use of these tags in order to encourage producers to use them. If this is the case with the State in which you are located you can save money by ordering your electronic tags online through your State DPI website.

The tag should be inserted in the back section of the ear, below the large vein running down the length of the ear. This avoids bleeding and allows for future growth of the ear.

When lambs are tagged record their details in the lambing book. If the dam is known record the dam's identification number, along with the date of birth of the lamb, the type of birth (single / twin/ triplet etc), and any other relevant information you wish to record (eg birth weight of the lamb). It is a good idea to record this information in a hardcovered (lasts longer) paddock book and transfer the information to an office record book or to your computer. Modern day farmers may wish to use mobile phones or other small computers with bluetooth technology for stock recording purposes. They can then send the details directly to their office computer and avoid double entry of data.

Records to be kept

At a minimum it is advisable to keep accurate records of which rams ewes were mated to and the date they were joined. However abundant and accurate measurement enables us to be better be able to identify the genetically superior animals. This leads to more accurate animal selection and faster genetic improvement.

For compliance you will need to keep good records of all drenches and other chemicals administered to your animals.

When you sell animals you will need to supply the buyer with a National Vendor Declaration and to keep a copy of this declaration yourself. Books of National Vendor declarations are available from MLA (Meat & Livestock Australia).

You can find our more information about NVDs on the MLA website.

You can order NVD books online or by phoning the NVD Hotline on 1800 683 111

For those performance recording their animals, there will be other data which will need to be gathered recorded and collated.