Nutrition / Animal Health

MLA: Fast tracking winter feed options for southern producers

Beef Central, 14/03/2014

Southern producers should consider comparing multiple pasture species and making prudent decisions on how best to fill the winter feed gap while minimising costs and maximising value.

PGG Wrightson Seeds Research Manager James Sewell will present on ‘fast feed for winter’ at MLA’s Pasture Update held at Culcairn NSW on 20 March.

He said getting feed out of the ground fast in the next few months could potentially save producers thousands of dollars in grain and hay costs while setting up a paddock for future grazing programs and/or crop rotations.

“Since the droughts of the past decade, demand has increased significantly for cost-effective solutions to feed shortages, especially through the autumn and winter,” he said.

“This has helped to not only drive the advent of new pasture varieties and breeding focus but has also increased our expectations of what is possible.”

James said even though each enterprise is unique, success can be achieved by matching the autumn break (whether it’s early, mid or late) with a species that suits your budget, environment and production system.

“There’s a lot of possibilities out there but we’ll be concentrating on some stand-out performers for southern NSW such as autumn-sown brassica and some new options of forage rye corn which have shown exceptional speed out of the ground,” he said.

“They are proven performers during late-autumn-break years but like all varieties have their limitations and these need to be understood and weighed up before final decisions are made.

“We’ll also be discussing how some Italian ryegrasses can fit into systems to drive winter feed and how they’ve performed in trial plots as well as some of the more traditional choices such as oats and triticale which offer hay and silage opportunities later in the year."

James will also help producers with some practical economics, showing them how to model sowing rates of annual ryegrass to find out, if they plant extra kilograms of seed, how much more kilograms of dry matter per hectare will be produced and how this can save on supplementary feeding costs.

Presented by The Grassland Society of Southern Australia, the day will also include presentations from Rennylea Angus Stud and precision farming consultant Peter Baines. A farm tour will be held following the presentations.

Source: MLA. To find out more about the Culcairn Pasture Update click here

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