It’s All About ME, Grain Crops For Livestock
As the big dry continues, NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) scientists have some tips for producers to explore how to best maximise opportunities from moisturestressed wheat and canola crops.
NSW DPI researcher, John Piltz said producers know that by making early decisions to graze or conserve crops, they can maximise the nutritional value of cereal crops that may not be harvestable for animal production.
“It’s worth remembering that dietary metabolisable energy (ME) is the key to animal production gains, but ME declines in the post-vegative growth stage,” said John.
“We advise producers to accurately evaluate all their on-farm and sale options for potential grain production, grazing, hay and silage or agistment opportunities.
“If crop yield is low, less than two tonnes of dry matter per hectare, hay and silage making losses will be high and grazing would be recommended.
“If you’re going to graze the crop it is better to act sooner than later, delaying cutting from early October to early November on the chance of rain would reduce ME levels with a negative impact on feed quality and potential animal production.”
To better inform management decisions John and NSW DPI analytical chemist, Richard Meyer, have predicted steer live weight change using Grazfeed and compared with data from wheat and canola samples tested by NSW DPI’s Feed Quality Service (FQS).
Samples from 2008-09 and 2017-18 had an average ME of 9.0 megajoules (MJ) per kilogram of dry matter, which would deliver a predicted daily live weight gain of 0.37 kilograms per day for a nine-month old, 280 kilogram British breed steer.
The more ME animals eat, the quicker they grow, as long as crude protein, vitamins and minerals are kept in balance. Increasing ME from 8.5 to 10.5 MJ for the same steer is predicted to increase live weight gain from 0.15 to 0.92 kilograms per day.
In the post-vegative stage, crop ME declines an average 0.05 MJ per day as plants mature.
Results of the study are available through the Graham Centre for Agricultural Innovation, an alliance between NSW DPI and Charles Sturt University.
For the crop salvage calculator visit: https://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/agriculture/ broadacre-crops/crop-salvage-calculator.
Farmer of the Year Nominations
NSW Minister for Primary Industries and outgoing NSW Farmers President, Derek Schoen announced the opening of applications for the prestigious NSW Farmer of the Year award for 2018. Speaking at the NSW Farmers Annual Conference recently, NSW Minister for Primary Industries, Niall Blair said the award is both a celebration and recognition of farming excellence through the diverse range of enterprises across NSW. “Our farmers represent some of the most innovative, industrious primary producers in the country and produce some of the highest quality food and fibre to be found anywhere in the world,” said Niall.
“The state’s $15 billion primary industries sector is going from strength to strength under the stewardship of our farmers, who demonstrate drive and determination to run efficient, profitable and sustainable businesses.”
Derek has served as a judge of the award throughout his presidency and said that the 2017 finalists represented the breadth of NSW’s farming sector. “From biodynamic, organic egg farming to a commercial cropping enterprise gaining efficiencies through environmental practices, from young guns through to farmers who have had a life-long commitment to farming excellence, the calibre of applications to the NSW Farmer of the Year award continues to be hugely impressive,” he said.
“The award helps identify outstanding farmers who are pushing the boundaries within their industry and in farming generally, and recognises people with outstanding management skills who demonstrate a combination of innovation, profitability, sustainability and community involvement.”
The successful 2018 Farmer of the Year will be awarded $10,000 and finalists will receive $2,000. The award is an initiative of the NSW Department of Primary Industries and NSW Farmers. You can both apply and nominate a farmer online at www.nswfarmeroftheyear.com.au with entries closing 26th September 2018.