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Management Education Programs

Lamb and Wool Management:  Sheep Facility Tours

Sheep Facility Tour - June 6, 2016

The Pipestone Sheep Facility Tour provides producers an opportunity to see various types of sheep facilities, including the latest innovations in sheep buildings, state of the art lambing barns, handling systems, feeding systems and facility layout. The tour will be a full day tour, visiting four lamb and wool producers with new and remodeled facilities. All of these operations have devised their buildings and feeding systems to reduce labor and enable them to run larger numbers of ewes with the same labor.

In addition, this tour will also be an opportunity to hear the management philosophy of these four successful sheep operations.

Tour Details

June 6, 2016
Location:  Begin and end at Minnesota West Community & Technical College
1314 North Hiawatha Ave.
Pipestone, MN

2016 Tentative Tour Schedule
7:15 a.m. - Registration
7:30 a.m. - Bus leaves Minnesota West, Pipestone Campus
Tour 5 sheep operations
7:15 Arrive back at Minnesota West, Pipestone Campus

Farm Tour Stops

Blair Hellewell Farm
Blair is a native of New Zealand and came to the United States through a work exchange program MAST (Minnesota Agriculture Student Training).  MAST International Exchange Program combines a practical, hands-on, educational experience in agriculture with a classroom experience through the University of Minnesota.  Blair chose to stay in the United States and partnered with one of his host families.  He and his family run about 450 commercial ewes.  They use a multiple lambing period system to most efficiently utilize their facilities and labor.  Blair recently converted an open front pole barn into an insulated and mechanically ventilated lambing barn.  Lambing jugs are on expanded metal flooring.  In addition , to the remodeled lambing barn they have done an excellent job of utilizing older barns to make their sheep operation effectively use all the buildings available to them.  The Hellewell operation includes many labor saving concepts to enable them to handle a large number of sheep with minimal effort.  Blair utilizes the Shearwell Farm works program for genetic improvement.

Dave Laughton Farm
Dave runs an extremely productive flock of ewes.  Dave recently completed an addition onto his existing lambing barn that allows him to lamb larger groups more labor efficiently and to provide a more ideal environment for new born lambs.  Dave has built feeding alleys to efficiently deliver feed with a feed wagon to gestating ewes.  Ewes are self-fed in hoop barns during lactation as a labor saving practice.  A portion of older barn has been remodeled for raising milk replacer lambs on raised decking pens.  Dave and his wife Angie have two children who help out with the sheep operation.  Dave also employs some additional part time labor during lambing.

Moser Family Farm
Wes and Esther Moser along with their sons Alex and Caleb Moser run one of the most progressive sheep operations in the Pipestone program.  The family has been raising sheep for 44 years (since 1972) and currently run about 850 ewes.  Part of their flock is accelerated lambing.  One of the goals of this multigenerational farming operation is to efficiently run a large number of ewes.  To accomplish this goal they have focused on lower labor input, reduced feed cost and highly productive ewes.  You will see a remodeled lambing barn, several styles of hoop barns, hoop barn with drive through feeding, hoop barn with drive by fence line feeding, automated feeding system, plus good working chutes, rotational grazed pastures and silage based rations.  An innovative, well managed sheep operation.  Wes and Esther received the Pipestone Outstanding Sheep Producer Award in 1987 and Wes was inducted into the Pipestone Lamb and Wool Program Hall of Fame in 2010.

Brian Winsel Farm
Brian is one of the young newcomers to the sheep business.  He started in sheep eight years ago and has steadily grown his flock size to 900 ewes.  To accommodate this expansion he has remodeled an existing building to be a labor efficient lambing facility and has built additional cold housing with a drive through feeding system to provide a low labor feeding system.  Plus, he has incorporated a working and shearing area into the same building.  He also recently built two hoop barns for housing to accommodate flock expansion.  Brian has many low labor concepts built into his operation that will make it easier to run a large number of ewes for many years to come.  He employs a wave system of lambing and has developed a great set of sheep management skills in a very short period of time.
Brian uses an effective ewe production record keeping program that has enabled him to increase production per ewe by 10% every year for the last three years.

Tyson Rule Farm (Rule Sheep Company)
Tyson and Rob Rule started building a new sheep operation and facilities in 2008.  They have utilized ideas from many good sheep operations plus added their ideas to develop their own operation.  Because of the size of their operation they have focused on building facilities that require low labor input and will work with them not against them. Their lambing barn has a capacity of 450 ewes with slatted floor and automated feeding system.  They have constructed hoop barns with drive through  fence line feeding.  A commodity shed was also built to take advantage of various feed ingredients.  They also recently added a ram facility with a cooling cell to maintain higher ram fertility in the summer months.  The operation uses a multiple lambing period system of lambing ewes.


2016 Cost: $180 (includes tour transportation, tuition, handouts, lunch, and refreshments).
Minimum Enrollment: 30 people. Maximum Enrollment: 54 people.
Campus & Lodging Information.

Complete and return Registration Form.  *This form requires Acrobat Reader (free download).

North Dakota and Wisconsin residents will be charged a higher tuition cost unless a reciprocity form is completed. A copy of the completed reciprocity form must accompany registration form. Go to Reciprocity Information for more details and the application form for your state. Follow instructions on how to print and complete the form. Contact the Lamb and Wool program if you need help completing the reciprocity form.

South Dakota students should contact Minnesota West directly. South Dakota residents don’t need to send a form to their home state.

Questions or more information?


Philip Berg

Laurie Johnson
507 825-6815

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