Grazing Of Dual Purpose Crop To A Mixed Enterprise Farming System

GRDC - Cam Nicholson (Nicon Rural Services, Geelong)

Type: Research Paper
Knowledge level: Advanced

Farm Table says:

The authors of this paper note in the conclusion: "Farms with minimal crop area (e.g. Inverleigh and Penshurst) were restricted to short periods of grazing crops with select animal classes. This limited the potential for increases in farm profit from grazing crops. As a rule of thumb, if crop made up >60% of the farmed area, grazing crops had the potential to substantially change farm profits".   Please access the full paper via the link below if this research interests you.

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.


2018 - Australia - GRDC - Cam Nicholson (Nicon Rural Services, Geelong)
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