Animal Care, Automation and Advancements
The Sheep Discovery Center continues to crush milestones.
The Sheep Discovery Center (SDC) continues to make big strides in the short months since its opening.
Located in Nephi, UT, the SDC converges multiple technologies to become a state-of-the-art, working model for the American lamb industry. What follows are highlights of recent accomplishments by the employee-owners of the SDC and their partners.
As part of the facility’s commitment to animal care, the SDC team has completed a humane animal treatment program and built livestock handling facilities designed by the renowned leader of such facilities, Dr. Temple Grandin.
While the ewes at the facility enjoy the comforts and shelter of the barns, they are also free to pasture. These ideal conditions — along with the advanced techniques employed at the SDC — have enabled many ewes to lamb twice within 10 months. This advanced method of raising sheep is one of the pillars of the SDC program and its goal to provide the industry a steady, sustainable supply of American lamb.
The SDC has formed new partnerships with local farmers to source hay, and with an agronomics company to optimize the production of fertilizer.
The facility’s feeding system (and the software that runs it) is fully implemented, providing feed to the ewes four times a day with minimal human interaction. Allowing late-gestation ewes to eat smaller amounts with the frequency provided by this system enables them to produce more milk. This, in turn, produces larger, healthier lambs which results in a better product.
The team at SDC has also added supplements similar to probiotics to the pre-feeds, adding to the gut health of the ewes and lambs. General manager Jordan Atkinson says, “We’re doing everything we can to increase the health of the rumen. We’ve partnered with University experts to conduct testing with the objective of identifying ewes that produce higher quality colostrum.”
As the flock grows at the Sheep Discovery Center, so do advancements and triumphs that benefit the entire industry.