A Spin on the Sheep Management Wheel

 Darrell Amoth started raising sheep about four years ago on the family farm north of Pipestone.
 
The family grew crops and had a cowherd, but Amoth’s sons Nathaniel, 14, and Micah, 12, expressed interest in raising sheep, so he decided to branch out. The Amoths started with about 15 ewes the first year.
 
“We enjoyed what we were doing, so we increased it a little more,” Amoth said. “Over the last few years, we’ve retained a few ewes and bought a few more and we’re up to about 110 now.”
 
Amoth uses a tool called the Sheep Management Wheel as a guide for managing his sheep.
 
“The wheel basically helps you with management timing issues and when to do certain things,” Amoth said.
 
Producers set the date on which they lamb on the wheel and the wheel indicates all the management tasks they need to do for the ewe and her lambs for the whole year, including vaccinations, weaning, shearing, selecting breeding rams and breeding.
 
The plastic wheel is available through the Pipestone Lamb and Wool Management Program at Minnesota West Community and Technical College for $12.
 
“We need to be timely in our management and the management wheel helps with that,” said Philip Berg, an instructor with the Lamb and Wool Management Program.
 
Berg said the wheel is most popular among people from outside the area who take the short courses offered by the Lamb and Wool Program. The short courses range from one day to four days and attract people from all over the country.
 
Much of the information contained on the wheel is also part of the Lamb and Wool Management Program’s course offerings.

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