Breed choices should be based on market choice and management system- By Daniel Winters (Co-Operator Staff/Rapid City)Dr. Neil Versavel explains how different breeds of sheep fit various marketing and production systems at the recent Manitoba Sheep Association’s annual general meeting.Getting into the cattle business can be as simple as buying a trailer full of bred Angus heifers from a neighbouring ranch and dumping them into the corral.But before scratching out a cheque for a load of ewes, a would-be shepherd should first figure out where and when they are going to market their lambs, and what management system they plan to use, said Neil Versavel, a shepherd from Balmoral and director with the Canadian Sheep Breeders Association.That’s because there’s no one-size-fits-all breed of sheep.“If you’re new to sheep and you’re confused about which breed to use, that’s not surprising,” said Versavel, at the recent Manitoba Sheep Association’s annual general meeting.No other livestock sector has as wide a choice of breed characteristics, he added. Some breeds are for wook, while others are for milk. Some are best for cranking out high volumes of lambs, but others make better mothers. Some need to be sheared, while others shed by themselves.Choice of breed also comes into play when deciding whether to market light or heavy lambs. For those trying to capture the price spikes at Easter, Christmas or Ramadan, it’s important to know that some sheep will only breed from September to January, while others are more flexible.
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New General Manager Announced for CLRC
August 20, 2014
Ottawa - August 20, 2014: Dan Stephenson, Chair of the Board of Directors for the Canadian Livestock Records Corporation (CLRC), is pleased to announce the appointment of Jim Washer as General Manager, effective September 15, 2014.
"Recognized as an accomplished leader, Jim brings over 25 years of experience in program development, team leadership and stakeholder engagement to CLRC" stated Dan Stephenson. "On behalf of my Board colleagues, I would like to congratulate and welcome Jim as the new General Manager."
Jim brings to CLRC a vast experience in community development, program management, Board leadership, budget administration, as well as stakeholder partnerships.
"I look forward to building relationships with existing and new partners in the preservation and recording of livestock" stated Jim Washer. "This position provides the opportunity to lead CLRC from its recent centennial anniversary into an exciting future."
Biographical details for Jim Washer
Jim began his 25 year career path working in the community non-profit sector with Boys and Girls Clubs in both Montreal and Ottawa. Having held the positions of Adolescent Coordinator, Program Manager and Executive Director; Jim also sat on local boards and the Regional Council for Boys and Girls Clubs of Quebec.
Continuing in youth and community work, Jim joined the Canadian 4-H Council as National Program Manager. Responsible for national and international conferences, educational youth exchanges, and the agricultural grants and scholarship programs; Jim was instrumental in supporting youth in the development of agricultural practices.
From there Jim accepted a position as Senior Manager, Programs and Partnerships with SEVEC where he led a reorganization of the programs and processes that support over 6,000 youth to travel annually on educational exchanges.
Born and raised in Montreal, Jim is bilingual and is married with three children.Jim completed a B.ED in Education from McGill University, Management Training with Boys and Girls Clubs, and certification in Project Management from Algonquin College. During his studies at McGill, Jim was co-president of the Phys.ED student association and participated in an international study exchange to the U.K.
Jims personal interests include community involvement, renovating and restoration of old homes, golf and outdoor recreation.
Sheep Shearing Training Course
October 6-10, 2014
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December 2, 2014
Market Access in the Ukraine
May 22, 2014
“Your management system is going to heavily dictate what you choose. Are you going to be intensive, all inside, or a range-based, intensive grazing system?” said Versavel.There are two basic strategies for making a choice. If it’s based on the end market for lambs, then time of lambing dictates what management system must be used.“Trying to produce Easter lambs with Rambouillet sheep under an extensive spring lambing system just isn’t going to work,” he said.Alternatively, if the management system, say a large barn and feeding pens, is the keystone of the proposed operation, then time of lambing and end market becomes less rigid.Determining where a breed “fits” depends on its particular characteristics. A “terminal” breed such as Suffolk, Texel or Dorper produces a lot of meat quickly, while those with superior “maternal” instincts such as Dorset, North Country or Blue Faced Leicester offer better lamb survival rates.“Prolific” breeds, such as Romanov, Rideau Arcott, or Finn sheep shoot out triples, quads or even quints, but need better nutrition, more care at lambing, and as a result are often raised indoors year round.On the end of the spectrum, range sheep such as Rambouillet and Targhee do well in pasture-based systems with little direct intervention when lambing on grass in spring.Wool quality is another variable. Merino and Rambouillet produce the finest wool that fetches the highest prices. Romney and Cotswold grow long fibres favoured by home spinners, but wool from Suffolk and Dorset sheep often sells cheaply. For shepherds who find that shearing is burdensome, there’s hair-sheep such as Katahdin and Dorper.Yet another breed aspect is the ability to breed out of season.Unlike traditional day-length-dependent breeders that cycle from September to January like Suffolk and Texel, Dorset and Katahdin can get pregnant any time of year, which makes having lambs ready for higher-value Christmas, Easter or ethnic markets easier.For shepherds who want to ship heavy lambs as early as possible, then Suffolk or Hampshire are obvious choices. For the light 80- to 100-pound lamb market, then North Country or Texel fit the bill, said Versavel.
Canadian Sheep Breeders' Association
La Société Canadienne des Éleveurs de Moutons
New Export Opportunities in Ukraine for Canadian Livestock Producers – English
De nouvelles possibilités d'exportation vers l'Ukraine s'ouvrent aux éleveurs canadiens – Français
Dr Neil Versavel explains how different breeds of sheep fit various marketing and production systems at the recent Manitoba Sheep Association's annual general meeting
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Manitoba Sheep Association's Annual Show and Sale
Atlantic Sheep Sale Catalogue
Sheep Code of Practice/ Mouton code de pratiques
Upcoming GenOvis tested sales in Quebec: Richmond and Rimouski