Grazing cereal crops in a Mallee farming system Grazing systems to improve profit

Garry Armstrong Nullawil Best Wool Best Lamb Group - Garry Armstrong Nullawil Best Wool Best Lamb Group

Type: Research Paper
Knowledge level: Advanced

Farm Table says:

The Nullawil BWBL cluster pinpoint the need to improve the productivity and profitability of the Mallee prime lamb industry.

What is the problem?

Best Wool Best Lamb (BWBL) is a producer driven network that comprises of 58 producer groups totalling over 1200 group members and over 1185 associate members. BWBL is recognised as a forum which has had great success in achieving on-farm practice change among sheep producers.

The solution purpose of this PDS were:

  • Process and raise the rotational grazing practices developed in stage one of the PDS to better manage the nutritional requirements of prime lambs and their dams and increase production (kg/ha) of meat produced from 770kg/ha to 850kg/ha in the rotational grazing system.
  • Regulate the property of other fodder varieties for Mallee grain farming systems to fill the identified feed gap from September until the availability of the first stubble for grazing (December).
  • Lookover the financial implications of rotational grazing cereal crops and specialist fodder crops in a Mallee farming system and determine the cost of production of a kilogram of meat per hectare in these systems and compare these costs with previous practices.
  • Consider the nibbling management practices which decrease the turn off times and increase growth rate from 230g/h/d to 350/g/h/d of lamb produced in Mallee farming systems.
  • Check out the role of walk over weighing (WOW) and pedigree matchmaker (PMM) systems in an extensive environment to identify underperforming animals and their parents.
  • Cost-benefit of the systems and the relative payback period for these systems.

What did the research involve?

In both 2012 and 2013 two forty hectare paddocks of Moby barley were sown using conventional farming processes. The Moby paddocks were subdivided into 4 equally sized blocks using solar powered electric fences and rotationally grazed throughout.

The actual areas and varieties sown by the remainder of the group included a total area of 206 ha in the PDS:

  • Sub Zero Brassica 12 ha
  • Superoo Oats 12ha
  • Perun Festulolium (Ryegrass) 12 ha
  • Jivet Tetrapliod Ryegrass 20 ha
  • Vetch 40 ha
  • Moby Barley 110 ha

Note: Grain yield wasnot be examined as part of this work as the group has already established that the use of fodder specific varieties is preferable for finishing lambs in this environment.

What were the key findings?

Year 1

  • April 21st 2012 – two 40 ha paddocks were sown with Moby barley at 50kg/ha of Moby barley and 45 kg/ha Mon-ammonium Phosphate (MAP) site 1, and site 2, 40 kg/ha and 50 kg/ha of single chute super.
  • Rainfall was again an issue throughout the establishment phase of the PDS. Although there was good rainfall (70.8 mm) in the beginning of March this rainfall had little impact at sowing on 21st of April.
  • dry matter (DM) production of the Moby barley was in line with results obtained in the earlier work carried out by this group with the Moby barley on site 1 producing 6.59 tonne of DM/ha
  • Grazing commenced on June 1st 2012. As not pull test was completed,  50% of the plant population was pulled out by the grazing sheep so it was decided to remove sheep to allow the paddock top recover from the damage.

The benefit cost (BC) analysis of the trial to date has revealed that for the varieties under investigation the following;

  • Moby Barley BC ratio of 6.1:1or $579.50 : $95.00 Gross/ha/sowing cost
  • Jivet annual ryegrass BC ratio of 10.3:1 or $987.50 : $95.00 Gross/ha/sowing cost
  • Subzero and Perun Festulolium BC ratio of 10.3:1 or $987.50 : $85.00 Gross/ha/sowing cost

 

Year 2

  •  Mid-April 2013 – 40 ha paddock (site 1) was sown down to Moby barley @ 55 kg/ha with 50kg/ha of MAP fertiliser.
  • Season was once again difficult with little rain (16.2 mm, BOM) falling in the period March to April 2013 and a further 29.6 mm falling in May.
  • Lambing commenced this year in late March and was concluded by April 20th 2013.

The benefit cost (BC) analysis of the trial in 2013 has revealed that for the varieties under investigation the following;

  • Moby Barley BC ratio of 10.57:1 or $1004.15/ha Gross
  • Subzero held for late grazing BC ratio of 2.6:1 or $221.00/ha

 

 

Final comment

Solar powered electric fencing played an integral role in the rotational grazing management system..

2014 - Australia - Garry Armstrong Nullawil Best Wool Best Lamb Group - Garry Armstrong Nullawil Best Wool Best Lamb Group
Read ArticleSave For Later

Related Resources