On-farm monitoring of livestock and pastures
Many producers on the North West Slopes of NSW are seeking answers about how to best manage their native grass based pastures and how to integrate their use with other forage sources in order to raise weaning percentages. Most properties have a high proportion of native pastures and run both sheep and cattle enterprises. Native pastures in the region are dominated by summer-growing perennial grasses that have low forage value and are frost susceptible, leading to a ‘green feed, protein and energy drought’ particularly in winter-spring each year. They are characterised by a large amount of dead material that carries over from year to year and so are generally used for store stock and wool production. Current management of native pastures tends to be ad-hoc.
This study used on-farm data collected through 2008 and 2009 from up to 15 commercial properties to examine the relationship between green feed availability, ewe fat score and sheep enterprise performance. Enterprise case studies were also conducted on commercial properties during the on-farm monitoring program to identify production parameters (e.g. stocking rates, feedbase, lamb marking and weaning rates) and variable costs (e.g. supplementation, forage crop establishment, and annualised cost of pasture establishment and maintenance). Input was also sought from experienced local livestock advisory staff on typical enterprise performance under each scenario.
Full details of the study, results and recommendations can be found in the key message: Spring lambing ewes grazing native grass pastures need help to achieve high weaning percentages.
- EverGraze key message: Spring lambing ewes grazing native grass pastures need help to achieve high weaning percentages
- EverGraze Feed Budgeting and Tactical Management
- EverGraze reference tables
- Lifetimewool fat score targets
- AWI Feed on Offer Library
- EverGraze Livestock Systems EverGraze Exchange
- EverGraze Case Study – Integrating native pastures, John and Laurie Chaffey
- Murphy SR, Lodge GM, McCormick LA, Johnson IR (2010) Using growth and dry matter estimates to devise year-round forage systems for the North-West Slopes of New South Wales. In ‘Food security from sustainable agriculture, Proceedings of the 15th Australian Agronomy Conference, Lincoln, New Zealand’.
- Lodge GM, Brennan MA, Sanson PT, Roworth BR, Stace IJ (2011a) On-farm monitoring of sheep and pasture production in the EverGraze northern New South Wales project. In, ‘Proceedings of the 26th Annual Conference of The Grassland Society of NSW’. (Eds G Lodge, W Wheatley, J Scott). pp. 111-114. (The Grassland Society of NSW Inc.: Orange)
- Lodge GM, Brennan MA, Sanson PT, Roworth BR, Stace IJ (2011b) Using height and density to estimate the herbage mass of different pastures in northern New South Wales. In, ‘Proceedings of the 26th Annual Conference of The Grassland Society of NSW’. (Eds G Lodge, W Wheatley, J Scott). pp. 123-126. (The Grassland Society of NSW Inc.: Orange)
- Lodge GM (2011c) Surveys of grazing industry end-users in northern New South Wales. In ‘Proceedings of the 26th annual conference of the Grassland Society of NSW’. (Eds G Lodge, W Wheatley, J Scott). pp. 107-110. (Grassland Society of NSW Inc.: Orange).