Taking Stock – Managing Pastures and Productivity day

FIVE quality speakers from RCS, DAF and cattle producers gave informative presentations, and the common message from all speakers was “good grazing and pasture management is vital if you want to keep your land productive”.

The speakers and their “take home messages”:

Raymond Stacey, RCS

“Pasture is our blue chip investment.”

“Imagine your country as your haystack.”

“Don’t underestimate the value of monitoring. Tools to monitor with include:

  • graze charts
  • paddock records
  • business analysis
  • landscape health monitoring and;
  • stock days per hectare per 100 mm of rain.

Jim Fletcher, DAF

“NIRS technology enables producers to assess diet quality, so they can make proactive, timely decisions.

“Nutritional management strategies that NIRS diet quality results can be used to assist in making informed decisions are:

  • timing of weaning and age to wean down to;
  • putting cattle with the highest nutrient requirements (e.g. first-calf cows, weaners) into paddocks with the highest diet quality;
  • identifying nutrients that are deficient in the diets as well as nutrient imbalances; and
  • identifying when to sell stock before they begin losing weight.

Tim Moravek, DAF

“Take lessons from the past and let the past go – make good decisions in the future.”

“Spend the time to do a grazing business analysis and you will make informed and profitable decisions into the future.”

“Weaning rate, classes by age, sales, approximate joined breeder and heifer numbers. and preg testing will tell you your grazing pressure, and can help you predict your cash flow”.

“Money is made in the bad years, if you plan”.

Jane Weir, Amelia Downs, near Charters Towers

“Be brave enough to change a few things – a few minor changes can make a big difference”.

“If we spent just one per cent more time in the office , and just one per cent more on our pasture budget – we can survive the hard, dry times.”

“If you’ve got a pasture budget, you’ve got a risk mitigation tool…. and that means you have options.”

Peter Anderson, Glenlea Downs, near Clermont

“When things turn sour, change your head space and make small changes, this can turn a potentially bad situation into a good one.”

“Nutrition should always be front of mind.  Do not wait until you see cattle slipping, that’s too late and you end up spending a lot of time and money trying to get them back into condition.”

“Don’t be afraid to ask for help, ask other graziers what they do, speak to experts, because the more information you have the better decisions you will make for your business.”

Plenty of opportunities on the calendar for 2019

AS part of an integrated program the LDC team in conjunction with project partners RCS and DAF is delivering a series of workshops and supported activities throughout 2019.  

These workshops aim to:

  • Improve the variety, quantity the quality of information readily available to landholders
  • help graziers make informed decisions that is specific to their needs and property, which in turn
  • helps properties increase farm productivity and profit while also improving the environment.

The following services were also launched on the day – available to all producers within the BBB catchment:

  • Forage Budgeting – Measure the feed supply for the coming dry. The LDC team and partners will undertake property or paddock assessments.
  • Photo Monitoring Sites – Record and monitor visual changes. The LDC team and partners will install sites and record this data.
  • Assessing pasture diet quality with Faecel Near Infrared Spectroscopy (NIRS) testing
  • Soils testing and analysis – have a professional test and provide a detailed soils analysis for your paddock or property.

These options are available free of charge. We do encourage properties to be actively involved in the data collection process. Once collected, all information will be presented back exclusively to the landholder only.

Data will not be shared unless approval to do so is given by landholders.