THE second phase of Australian Wool Innovation and Meat and Livestock Australia's Making More from Sheep program is well underway.
It is in its third and final year, and South Australia coordinator Natasha Morley is encouraging those interested to apply for funding.
"If anyone is seeking funds to run an activity, the best thing is to give me a call and have a chat about it," she said.
"There's quite a bit of flexibility in how the activities are funded and we've got funds to be able to run activities from the new financial year to before harvest."
About 250 leading sheep producers and technical experts were recruited through the program to produce a manual that covers subjects from soil and pasture, to wool and meat marketing, animal health, genetics, and farm sustainability.
The program made funding available for workshops, seminars and activities that help farmers apply new practices to their own enterprises.
Sheep Consultancy Service director Brian Ashton has been running a series of four workshops for 15 people on Eyre Peninsula. He has already held two at Wudinna and another is scheduled for Cleve on June 25.
The workshops have been successful, and participants are keen to put into practice what they discuss.
"They're really concerned about how much water is costing them," Brian said.
"They are putting into practice things like better monitoring of water, and reducing evaporation as well as leaks and so forth.
"Some are looking at improved meters so they can record how much water they are using."
Brian's group has looked at regular monitoring of sheep to keep track of worm-count at various times.
"On upper EP, worms are not a real big problem, so people tend to drench once a year," he said.
"But quite often they wouldn't need to drench if they did a worm test."
Condition-scoring ewes has also been a key focus for the group.
"Often we find on the upper EP that ewes are either too well fed or not fed enough," Brian said.
"There's either a famine or feast. It's a matter of trying to condition-score ewes so you that you've met your targets but you don't overdo it.
"By doing that you reduce your handfeeding costs quite a bit or you could increase the stocking rate."
Participants in Brian's workshops are mostly younger farmers, although some have been accompanied by their fathers.
It has created a good discussion point but Brian admits it can be hard for farmers to find time to put the new techniques into practice.
This is particularly so among EP farmers running large cropping programs as well as livestock enterprises.
"They're just trying to do so much," Brian said.
"It's very hard to implement some things, so you really have to work at it.
"If they are going to make changes they really have to make sure they are going to benefit.
"But how do you find the time to do it, that's the biggest thing."
There is potential to double their income from sheep, which for many EP farmers represents about 20 per cent of gross income.
"It's certainly got the potential to become over 40pc of the profit," Brian said.
"The most successful thing about this program is getting guys to review what they do and find an option to increase their efficiency."
*Full report in Stock Journal, June 6 issue, 2013.