Tools

EverGraze and related projects have produced a range of Tools and calculators to assist making informed decisions for improved management of grazing enterprises. This page provides details, examples and video tutorials of a range of Tools that are relevant to broad-scale grazing systems for sheep and cattle.

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Feed budgets and stocking rates

EverGraze Feedbase Planning and Budgeting Tool

The EverGraze Feedbase Planning and Budgeting Tool is an Excel based tool that can be used to undertake many different tasks including;

  • Simple Pasture Budgets
  • Seasonal Pasture Budgets
  • Set up a Grazing Rotation
  • Compare feeding different supplements at pasture
  • Compare Gibberellic acid or N fertiliser to boost pasture growth

feedbase_planning

Increasing pasture growth in winter

The EverGraze Nitrogen and Gibberellic Acid Calculator allows producers to estimate the profitability of using these products as an alternative to supplementary feeding in autumn and winter in southern Australia.

The Tool provides a range of response rates for each product and the user needs to select the most appropriate value for their farm. A range of common supplements are also listed so the cost of additional pasture (c/MJ ME) can be compared directly with the cost of feeding supplements.

Ni_Gib

Effectively using Green Feed in summer

Research at Wagga Wagga showed that flushing ewes by grazing them on green feed (such as lucerne) for one week prior and one weeks during joining could result in higher twinning rates and around 10% extra lambs marked. However, the opportunity to graze ewes on lucerne needs to be compared to other option such as finishing lambs or growing weaners during the summer/autumn months. Green feed in summer is usually very scare and so needs to be grazed by the most responsive stock.

The EverGraze Green Feed Allocation Tool allows producers to compare different ways to use green feed in summer and so decide the most profitable way to use this valuable material.

green_feed

Estimating pasture growth on your farm

To complete feed budgets for your farm, you need to be able to estimate pasture growth rates throughout the year. Estimates of pasture growth in different regions of Australia are provided on this page. However, measurements on your farm in your paddocks will always be more accurate than generalised regional data.

There are several ways pasture growth can be estimated on farms. The procedure set out below is based on the change in height of the pasture over a 30-40 day period while the paddock is spelled from grazing. Alternatively, small cages or areas of the paddock need to be fenced off so that stock do not graze the areas being measured.

View the procedure to estimate pasture growth

Regional pasture growth rates

Following are a series of pasture growth rate (kg/ha/day) tables and graphs for regions across Australia. This data set was compiled for the Meat and Livestock Australia Feed Demand Calculator using validated curves from research sites, data presented in GrassGro, and with input from experienced research and extension professionals. The growth rate values should be used only as a guide only. Ways to measure and calculate your own pasture growth is provided here.

View the regional pasture growth rates

EverGraze Stocking Rate Calculator

A critical step in analysing your livestock system is to determine the average stocking rate on your farm, the monthly variation in stocking rate and how the stocking rate and hence feed requirements match with the feed supply on your farm. Stocking rate is measured in terms of dry sheep equivalents (DSE). One DSE represents the energy requirement of a non-lactating 50 kg ewe at maintenance; 8.3 megajoules metabolisable energy per head per day (MJ ME/hd/day).

The farm stocking rate (DSE/ha) = number of stock of each class x DSE per head, divided by the number of hectares on the farm. Energy requirements, and therefore DSE, vary considerably with stage of reproduction. Where there are many different mobs with different DSE ratings on the farm, the EverGraze Stocking Rate Calculator makes it easy to work out monthly stocking rate throughout the year by adding together the stock numbers of each class and their DSE rating in each month.

stocking_rate

Estimating Feed on Offer

AWI Feed On Offer (FOO) Library

The Feed On Offer (FOO) Library allows users to estimate FOO and nutritive value of grazed pastures. The 500 records available were collected by experienced agronomists across VIC, NSW, QLD, WA and SA, from typical pastures in each region in summer, autumn, winter and spring with a range of FOO values at each harvest.

AWI FOO

Conservation value

Assessing conservation value of native vegetation on farm

This is a guide for assessing the conservation value of box gum grassy woodlands on the Northwest Slopes of NSW

vative assess

Condition and reproduction

Lifetimewool Reproduction Rate Calculator

The relationship between condition at joining and reproductive rate and a simple method for working out the responsiveness of your flock.

LW RR

Lifetimewool Condition Scoring

The condition scoring method and handy assessment guide pages have a printable condition scoring chart and a histogram chart for easy recording.

LW CS

MLA Calving Histogram Calculator

The calving histogram calculator is a tool to measure the performance of your herd management for calving.

CHC

Shelter For Lambing Tool

At the Hamilton and Wagga Wagga Proof Sites, perennial grass hedges and shrub nurseries provided very effective shelter, reducing wind chill by up to 99%. At Hamilton, this reduced the average number of days with poor lambing weather during June to September by more than half, increasing the survival of lambs at the average birthweight by 30%. The economic benefits of shelter varies across environments depending on the risk of high chill (chill index > 1000 kj/m2/hr) during the lambing period, the cost of the shelter, and current conception and survival rates. The Shelter For Lambing Tool was developed to analyse the return from investment in shelter at various locations across the high rainfall zone.

shelter_lambing

Cost of production

MLA Cost of Production Calculator – Beef

An interactive, ‘do-it-yourself’ tool to help beef producers figure out their cost of production (CoP) and compare their performance annually. Get instructions on getting Macros to work for EverGraze and MLA Excel-based tools.

copb

MLA Cost of Production Calculator – Lamb

An interactive, ‘do-it-yourself’ tool kit to help lamb and sheep producers figure out their cost of production (CoP) and compare their performance annually.

copl

Animal health

MLA Health Cost Benefit Calculator

The Health Cost Benefit Calculator has been developed to determine the benefit of applying an animal health treatment to a herd for bloat, clostridial diseases and grass tetany.

hcbc

Lifetimewool Feed Budget Tables

These tools provide a simple method for determining ewe feed requirements and intake from pastures. They are developed for each time of year and can be accessed from the links below.

Lifetime feed

MLA Feed Demand Calculator

The MLA Feed Demand Calculator allows producers to gain an appreciation of the pattern of feed supply and demand over a twelve-month period, the location of “feed gaps” and the ways in which modifying the livestock enterprise might help to close these gaps. There are instructions on how to use the MLA Feed Demand Calculator. Get instructions on getting Macros to work for EverGraze and MLA Excel-based tools.

feed demand

MLA Rainfall to Pasture Growth Outlook Tool

The Rainfall to Pasture Growth Outlook Tool presents the actual rainfall and indices of soil moisture and pasture growth for the past nine months and an outlook for the next three months for over 3,300 locations across southern Australia.

MLA rainfall

Investing in pastures

EverGraze Pasture Improvement Calculator

The EverGraze Pasture Improvement Calculator (PIC) helps to work out the costs and benefits of improving pastures. The Tool can be used to compare any scenarios where significant expenditure is outlaid in a particular year and the benefit s then occur over a 10-20 year period. Commons comparisons with the PIC are;

  • Resowing pastures
  • Fencing and water supply
  • Paddock development; drainage, levelling

To use the Tool, the costs of the improvement, increase in stocking rates and/or gross margins, length of time that the improvement will last are key inputs. If you have not used this calculator before, you may benefit from the explanation of how to use the Pasture Improvement Calculator.

pasture_improvement

Reference tables for feed budgeting

Click on a table to expand into a new window (to see an enlarged version).

Table 1. Predicted daily intake of pasture (kg/hd/day) for cows

Feed Budget table 1_web

Table 2. Predicted daily pasture intake (kg/hd/day) of weaner cattle

Feed Budget table 2_web

Table 3. Predicted daily pasture intake (kg/hd/day) of pasture by ewes

Feed Budget table 3_web

Table 4. Predicted daily pasture intake (kg/hd/day) of pasture by weaner sheep

Feed Budget table 4_web

Table 5. Predicted daily energy intake (MJ ME/hd) from pasture by ewes

Feed Budget table 5_web

Table 6. Predicted daily energy intake (MJ ME/hd) from pasture by weaner sheep

Feed Budget table 6_web

Table 7. Minimum pasture availability (kg/ha) required to maintain satisfactory production levels

Feed Budget table 7_web

Table 8. Approximate relationship between pasture height and kg green DM/ha

Feed Budget table 8_web

Table 9. Monthly pasture growth rate estimates

Feed Budget table 9_web

Table 10. Protein and energy requirements for sheep

Feed Budget table 10_web

See the Lifetimewool tables for further detail of these targets (figures within the ranges)

Table 11. Protein and energy requirements for cattle

Feed Budget table 11_web

Table 12. Estimated digestibility, energy, protein and fibre value of pastures

Feed Budget table 12_web

Table 13. Estimated energy, protein and fibre values of common livestock feeds

Feed Budget table 13_web

Table 14. DSE values for different classes of sheep

Feed Budget table 14_web

Table 15. DSE values of different classes of cattle

Feed Budget table 15_web

Table 16. Pasture responses to nitrogen

Feed Budget table 16_web

Table 17. Composition of common fertilisers

Feed Budget table 17_web

Useful formulas

Feed Budget table_Useful formulas_web

Acknowledgements

These tables are the set of reference tables used in the EverGraze Feedbase Planning and Budgeting Tool. They have been mostly drawn from Prograze (a MLA and DPI NSW initiative), Lifetimewool (a Sheep CRC initiative), High Performance Weaners (a Rural Industries Skills Training initiative) and the Agriculture Victoria Drought Feeding Manual.

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