Farm Table says:
The take home messages from this GRDC funded research are below. Please access the full paper via the link below for methodology, references, acknowledgements and discussion.
Take home messages from the paper include:
- Successful grazing of crops requires planning from the outset of the season to reduce crop yield losses (e.g. sow earlier) and maximise livestock productivity (e.g. change operation timings to suit, increase number of twin bearing animals).
- Adequate cropped area was important for significant change to farm profit. The rule of thumb is >60% cropped to ensure adequate feed for meaningful change to livestock production.
- Sowing crops earlier saw yield increases that often outweighed the marginal yield declines from grazing and provided feed earlier in the season.
- Increasing livestock production by moving to twin bearing ewes to capitalise on the additional feed available, increased farm profitability. The increased fecundity of ewes and number of lambs increased the dry sheep equivalent (DSE) carried, providing an alternative strategy to buying more stock to match feed availability.