Sarto Sheep Farms
Sheep Sense
Manitoba Sheep Association Quarterly Newsletter
June 2016

The last few months, since the AGM in Winnipeg, has been a busy time for the MSA. We have had a change to some of our Board members. As well a new Provincial Government has led to multiple industry consultations to help get everyone up to date. The Board has begun work on various Resolutions that were passed at the AGM including an updated business plan. With our year end change we have run into some issues that will take some time to sort out and this has caused the AGM to be delayed for the time being. The annual Show and Sale is being held in Portage this year moving to a more central location. Adam Donohoe has stepped down as our Interlake District and the Board would like to thank him for his service and dedication to the Board while he was with us. 

As always the MSA Board would like to make sure that we are reaching all of the producers that we can. If you know someone that has recently entered the industry or may not be recieving SheepSense please get them to contact Linda at or call 

Jonathon Nichol
Central Region
MSA Annual General Meeting Delayed
The 2016 Manitoba Sheep Association Annual General Meeting which had been scheduled for August 19th has now been postponed to a future date. When the new date and location have been decided this information will be passed along to our producers.
New Addition to the MSA Board

Courtney Hermanson - Director at Large

Hello fellow Sheep enthusiasts!

My name is  Courtney Hermanson, I own and operate Netley Sheep in Netley Manitoba.

I grew up on a farm in Netley Manitoba, and my farm story started with cattle owned by my Aunt and Uncle, the cattle left and after years of grass growing wild, the alpacas moved in. With the help of my family, we raised and showed alpacas for 12 years before changing to a hobby farm with a little bit of everything before focusing on sheep in 2015.

I have always had a interest in animals, from participating in 4-H as a kid to attending rodeos and fairs as a teenager showing Alpacas and Poultry. I currently split my time between the farm and working at Selkirk Veterinary Services.

In between the alpacas and sheep, I lived part time in Winnipeg promoting Concert events and have always loved planning events and promoting them and that comes through in whatever I happen to be involved with, which now includes the Manitoba Sheep Association. I am happy to be on the board as a Director at Large and hope to help promote the Manitoba Sheep industry to others.

At this time I have about 30 sheep mainly Canadian Arcotts and Arcott crosses, a few alpacas left and about 30 chickens and fowl, 2 guardian dogs, cats and a number of house dogs.

Courtney Hermanson

Approval for Lamb Processing Plant in Mb.
By Pat Smith
Canada Sheep & Lamb Farms Ltd has received approval from the Manitoba Government and RM of Stuartburn for the construction of a 15,000 market lamb containment facility co-located with a processing plant to be constructed near Zhoda in the RM of Stuartburn.

Canada Sheep currently operates several lambing locations in Southeastern Manitoba  with an aggregate of 17,000 ewes and expects 40,000+ lambs to be born in 2017.  The processing plant will have an initial capacity of 60,000 lambs growing to 100,000 in the second year and with capability to process 200,000 in the same facility as lambs become available.   We hope to be able to source lambs from Manitoba and will build a 2nd plant if we can obtain adequate lamb supplies.  It is our intention to grow our ewe flock to 50,000 ewes  within 3 years and 100,000 ewes in the subsequent 5 years.  

Canada Sheep has carefully developed a ewe flock with maternal genetics that are highly productive in lamb drop and low mortality.  In combination with selected Ram genetics we believe Manitoba has the land base, feed stocks, underused barns and skilled personnel to further develop our sheep production and processing operations to produce lamb products to meet the growing demand for quality lamb throughout North America and the world.   Our research indicates the demand is dramatically greater than available supply.

Changes to the Board of Directors 
We have had a few changes to the Board in the last few months. Colin Hunter who was one of our Directors at Large took on a new responsibility as the MSA representative to the Manitoba Forage and Grasslands Association and stepped down as the Director at Large. Nominations for his position were sought prior to and at the AGM without anyone stepping up at those times. Two people then stepped forward after the AGM and the Board appointed Courtney Hermanson to the position. Courtney's Bio will follow. Recently Adam Donohoe stepped down as the Interlake Director and therefore that region will be looking for nominations for a new Director. If you would like to nominate someone or to put yourself forward as a nominee please contact Linda by email at or by phone at 204-421-9434.

Annual Forage Options for Continued Grazing
More and more producers have been looking at alternative forage sources to extend and enhance the grazing season. The use of annual forages is one tool that producers can use to both extend and enhance their grazing.

To determine the right type of annual forage to select a producer first has to decide what their goal is they wish to achieve. If it is early season grazing that is desired, prior to existing pastures being ready, a winter cereal would be something to consider. These crops typically emerge early with fast growth in the cool spring weather. 

Annual spring seeded forages such as Barley, Oats, Peas, and some beans are better for mid-summer grazing when perennial pastures typically have slower growth. 

Hot season crops such as Corn and Millet are good options when considering stockpiling feed for extended season grazing. 

There are many upsides to annual forages. If strip grazed with only a few days of graze available at a time, intestinal worms are unable to develop into an infectious stage before the animals are moved off to fresh grazing. The feces and urine left behind are a cheap fertilizer for the following crop, and do not require expensive spreading. Using annual forages also provides the existing pastures a rest period allowing for improved growth. 

There are downsides as well to using these forages. Moving the sheep every few days can be more labour intensive and requires investment into portable fencing. Fields selected should be relatively clean of weeds, especially if using a blend of different species as weed control options may be limited. 

Code of Practice 
This is a section out of the Canadian Sheep Code of Practice that all producers must comply with. To see the Code in its entirety visit
or contact your district's Director to receive a paper copy of the Code of Practice

4.4 Sick, Injured or Cull Animals
Through good management it is possible to maintain a flock with low incidence of sickness and injury. When sickness and/or injury do occur, providing sheep with comfort and appropriate care are priorities for sheep welfare. Consulting with a veterinarian about the inclusion of pain control, fever relief and inflammation control (e.g. use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs [NSAIDs]) in a treatment plan can facilitate welfare and positive outcomes for the sheep.

Where any flock of sheep exists there will be incidents of illness, injury, or reasons for removing animals from the flock. In general, producers provide immediate response and medical treatment. When treatment fails or is not feasible sheep should be culled or euthanized (see  Section 6.1.1 Fitness for Transport). The flock should be monitored regularly and individual animals to be culled should be identified early and before welfare or production issues occur. Surgeries other than those specifically listed in the  Section 5 Husbandry Practices section and first aid must be performed by a veterinarian.

Sick, injured, or diseased sheep should be identified and treated, euthanized, or slaughtered on-farm without delay. If in doubt about the sheep's health or the most effective treatment, consult a veterinarian without delay. If a sheep does not respond to treatment, seek veterinary advice, or euthanize without delay.

Disease detection in sheep requires careful observation to detect subtle changes in behaviour (29). Sheep tend not to display overt signs of illness. Everyone responsible for sheep care should be able to recognize both normal behaviour and signs of sickness, injury or disease. Health problems will be identified earlier if stockpeople monitor the flock regularly and not just at feeding time.
The following signs may indicate illness, injury, or disease in sheep (29):
  • depressed appetite
  • not chewing properly or are salivating excessively
  • not chewing their cud
  • separated from the group or are slow to get up to follow the flock
  • depression:
    • head hanging down
    • ears droopy
    • eyes dull or sunken
    • hunched stance (back arched with front feet and back feet placed close together beneath the animal)
    • sudden lack of maternal interest
  • look empty or shrunken (flanks are sunk in and hook bones are easily seen)
  • manure stains on their fleece indicating diarrhea, with or without blood
  • straining
  • look "too full," especially on the left side, which may indicate bloat
  • noisy breathing, coughing, snotty noses, or grunting respiration
  • grinding their teeth or lip curling
  • lameness or odd gait, either staggering or circling, or those that are holding their head in an abnormal position
  • reluctant to move readily; they may show signs of lameness or stiffness
  • spending excessive time recumbent
  • not coming up to feeder or standing at feeder but not eating
  • display abnormal excitement or agitation
  • display signs of excessive itchiness and wool chewing
  • abnormal appearance of udder or genitalia
  • abnormal discharges or odour
Sheep displaying any of these signs require a thorough examination and assessment. 

Wool Corner
 Made in Canada Sheep By Gerry Oliver

Sheep have been in Canada since the days of early settlement, however conditions were much harsher than where they originated from. Lamb losses were heavy, so research was started to create a breed more suited to the western Canadian climate and landscape.


The first breed that was developed specifically for range conditions was the Romnelet. Work was carried out first by Richard Harvey (1865-1950) at Stirling , AB and then picked up at the Range Experiment Station, Manyberries, AB in the 1920's. Over 15 years, Rambouillet females were crossed with Romney Marsh rams to produce the Romnelet. Harvey's dream was of a sheep that combined the hardiness, flocking and grazing habits of the Rambouillet, but with longer wool, characteristics possessed by several British sheep breeds. The breed received official status and was entered into the Canadian National Livestock Records in 1961. It is not known if any Romnelets can still be found in the west as a pure breed. The last ram registered was in 1977.


The DLS was developed at Lennoxville, Quebec between 1965 and 1988. By using the Dorset, Leicester and Suffolk genetics, they produced a sheep that consistently breeds from June- August without external manipulation and has excellent meat characteristics. They adapt well to accelerated lambing programs. As far as wool, it was of medium grade, but with great variation in the fibre and fleece.

Arcott - Rideau, Canadian and Outaouais

The Arcott breed started development at the Experimental Farm in Ottawa in 1966. The initial breeds included Shropshire, Suffolk, North country Cheviot and Romnelet. Later Leicester, Southdown, Dorset were introduced to the breeding lineup, each contributing different characteristics which were to produce a good market animal. To increase prolificacy and milk production, Ile de France, Finnsheep and East Friesen were added to the mix.

Once the basic characteristics were established, the flocks wereclosed and the new breeds registered. Three were described: the

Canadian Arcott, selected for lean muscle mass and growth rate; the Outaouais and Rideau breeds were selected on the basis of Rideau Arcott prolificacy of the dams, with lesser attention to individual lamb growth. The wool on all three breeds was a medium grade, weighing about 2.5 kg per fleece.

The Rideau Arcott has become the most popular of the three breeds while small flocks of Canadian Arcott can be found around the country.

The Outaouais has not proved popular with sheep producers.
Price Improvement Program
The Price Improvement Program is an initiative to improve both the quality and quantity of livestock sales reporting to Manitoba Agriculture Food and Rural Development (MAFRD) Market Intelligence.

MAFRD will publish, via the web, compiled sales data on a weekly basis in the Manitoba Markets  Weekly Report at: statistics/livestock-market-prices-current.html.

Compiled information is intended for use by industry stakeholders, for Government compensation programs, by Manitoba Agricultural Services Corporation (MASC) for lending purposes and will be shared with Statistics Canada.

A standardized Excel template will be used by participants for reporting of sales information. These forms will be made available on the MAFRD website. Sales information can be sent to This mailbox resides in the secured Manitoba government
electronic network.

Your sales reports will remain confidential. Only compiled data will be published if there are sufficient volumes of sales. Contributors' identity will not be revealed ensuring complete confidentiality. Copies of sales receipts will be requested periodically to verify data.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank in advance all participants in this price reporting improvement initiative. Compilation of verified sales information is critical to the prosperity of the livestock industry, in Manitoba.

Marni Donetz, MSc, P.Ag
Market Intelligence Specialist-Livestock
Research and Market Intelligence
809-401 York Avenue, Winnipeg, Manitoba, R3C 0P8
Cell: 204-791-6887
Fax: 204-948-2498

Bruce Collins, B.Sc. P.Ag.
Research Analyst (Markets)
Manitoba Agricultural Services Corporation, Morris, MB
Ph: 204-746-7505 Fax: 204-746-2932

The form is also available on the MSA website by going to the Industry info page and following the Price Reporting Form link or by clicking on the following link. 

"Vision 2020"
One of the resolutions put forward at the last AGM was the development of a new business plan to give the Association a clear direction, and taking our organization into the year 2020. In that regard the MSA Board has started on "Vision 2020" which will be released prior to the 2016 AGM this fall so that it can be discussed at the meeting. The focus of "Vision 2020" is growth within our industry to make Manitoba one of the leading lamb producing provinces in the country. If you have any ideas that you believe would improve producer retention, increase flock growth, or create more opportunities for lamb producers within the province please email your thoughts to Jonathon Nichol at
Coming Events
2016 MSA Annual Show and Sale
August 19th and 20th. This year the Show and Sale will be held in Portage La Prairie, at the Portage Fair Grounds. 
Entries must be received by August 3, 2016. Required fees must accompany entries. All entries received by this date will be in the catalogue. ALL PUREBRED ENTRIES must send  in a registration paper or a photocopy of same. Registration paper must be received before  the Show to sell as purebred.

2016 Manitoba Fibre Fest
Friday September 30 and Saturday October 1, 2016   The Fourth Annual Manitoba Fibre Festival is  Friday evening September 30, 5:00 - 9:00 pm, and  Saturday October 1, 10:00 am - 4:00 pm at  Red River Exhibition Park 3977 Portage Avenue  Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.

Nominations for the Interlake District
The MSA Board is looking for nominations for the Interlake District Directors position. Directors have 2 year terms with voting typically occurring at each districts annual meeting prior to the AGM. If you would like to stand for this position or would like to nominate someone please contact Linda by 
e-mail at or by phone at 204-421-9434. If there are enough nominations a meeting will be set-up for voting to take place.
Fly Strike
By Kate Basford

Flystrike is a major sheep welfare concern and economic problem, affecting sheep producers. All types of sheep are susceptible to being struck during wet seasons. Many parts of the province have seen large amounts of rainfall recently, combined with warm temperatures and humidity, elevating the risks of Fly Strike

Flies are the main external parasite affecting sheep in the summer months and the fly season seems to be starting earlier and lasting longer than ever before. Producers must actively monitor their flocks, acting quickly and treat accordingly when flystrike is detected.

Sheep producers should monitor their flocks for signs of fly strike often, as flies continue to deposit many hundreds of eggs onto affected sheep, which hatch into larvae (maggots). Fly eggs can hatch as quickly as 8 hours in the right conditions. If left untreated, fly strike can be fatal, regular inspections of all sheep flocks are vital. Sheep must be inspected at least every two days. Keep to a minimum the times when you know you will not be available for monitoring and treating sheep during flystrike season.

As an infestation develops a distinctive smell is noticeable. Wool becomes matted and discoloured. Wool is shed, if infestations remain untreated. The affected area increases from the centre accompanied by constant discomfort. The smell of infestation attracts more flies and if left unchecked, further infestations of flies can result in a quick and agonizing death.

Look for sheep that are lagging behind the flock. If standing at ease, sheep are showing signs of irritation, agitation and dejection, such as foot stamping, vigorous shaking, gnawing of their body or feet or rubbing of the tail and breech.

Flies are attracted to sheep by the odours of excessive "sweating" and decaying organic matter  in the fleece, anywhere over the loins, shoulders, flanks, neck, back, throat or abdomen.  Continual wetting of fleeces without drying, leads to skin damage and the release of extra  protein which, in turn encourages bacterial overgrowth. This makes the wet fleece even more  attractive to flies.

Flies are also attracted to fleece contaminated with urine and/or feces and breech strike is particularly associated with scouring, which can be caused from parasites or nutrition such as lush pastures. Control scouring by good nutritional and pasture management and with appropriate worm control. Feeding good quality hay when pastures are lush can help to bind fecal material reducing tags and flystrike. Ensure clean drinking water where possible to reduce risk of scouring.

Complete shearing can temporarily reduce the risk of strike, but this risk rapidly increases as the  fleece grows. Ewes can become flyblown even after shearing.

Treating struck sheep is critical and they should be removed from the flock, as leaving struck  sheep in the flock attracts flies. Move susceptible stock to low risk paddocks if possible; such as  higher ground that is likely to remain drier. Windier paddocks, fly numbers decrease as wind  velocity increases as flies dislike wind.  Flies are attracted to open wounds. These are often on the feet caused by Foot rot, which  attracts flystrike.

When treating the affected region should be clipped short of wool to expose all of the affected area, both the struck portion and where the exudate stain has run or spread. A clean margin of 2 to 3 centimeters about the area must be left; even more if long fleeces are likely to hang over the area when the sheep is standing.

The clipped area must be dressed with a chemical registered for the treatment of flystrike and  reapplied according to the manufacturers directions on the label and follow withdrawal periods.

The fleece removed from the struck area should be placed into a black plastic bag and left in the sun; the heat generated inside the bag will kill the fly maggots, preventing future generations from attacking your flock.

With the recent agreement of sheep products registered in New Zealand and Australia, becoming available in Canada, Manitoba sheep producers will soon have more products available to treat and manage flystrike.

Consider culling sheep that have been struck this year as part of your strategy to produce a more flystrike resistant flock. Culling of breeding ewes and rams that are continually struck could be considered, as evidence shows that hereditary factors may exist. Culling should also be considered for ewes with deformed genital openings and narrow breeches that result in soiling.
In This Issue
Quick Links
MSA Webpage
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For Rent 
Hog Barn with pit near Fisher Branch available for 1000 hogs.  Lagoon available. High herd health wash facility available.  $400.00/mo.  Housing available. Phenomenal rent. 

Sam or Nate Golas
Box 293, Fisher Branch, Manitoba Canada R0C 0Z0
Tel: (204) 372-6552 or 

Manitoba Sheep Association | (204) 421-9434 | |
Suite 244, 23-845 Dakota Street
Winnipeg, MB
R2M 5M3