This week on The Farm Report, host Erin Fairbanks picks up where she left off last week with the second part of the series on the sheep and lamb industry. Opening the show with the co-producer of the series, John Wilkes, a US based livestock consultant, writer and speaker with a background as a UK sheep and beef producer and farmer, the two talk technology in the sheep realm and how it has ultimately helped the industry. Despite the initial negative connotations that might be associated with using such technology like an ultrasound with livestock, John explains that this technology can be very helpful to aid in pregnancy detection and the problem comes in with whether it is legal state by state for anyone other than a licensed veterinarian to perform the procedure, though it is noninvasive. After the break, Erin welcomes Dr. Bret Taylor, Animal Scientist of the USDA Agricultural Research Center, who adds to the discussion of technology in the sheep and lamb industry. Talking about his work with the Sheep Experiment Station, he shares that it is in place to develop integrated methods for increasing production efficiency of sheep and to simultaneously improve the sustainability of rangeland ecosystems. Tune in for another sheep and lamb-centric episode! This program has been brought to you by Heritage Foods USA.
“The main thing is estimated breed values, and using the technology of ultrasound to take measurements of the animal as it’s growing at various points in its life to ascertain the amount of meat that it’s carrying.” [2:23]
“The estimated breed value gives indication of that animal’s sire, or the producer of that animal, if it is looked to improve the breed and have characteristics which you would find acceptable and look to improve your production.” [3:05]
— John Wilkes on The Farm Report
“The US Sheep Experiment Station… was actually the USDA’s answer to begin solving many of the sheep industry’s as far back as 1915.” [18:42]
“It’s not the lack of understanding the technology, I think the majority of sheep producers that I visit with… think it’s the coordination of those [technological] efforts. We know that those technologies are extensive and expensive.” [26:53]
— Dr. Bret Taylor on The Farm Report