Pastoral lessons for farmers to improve yield and stock health after dry season

Shannon SmithAlbany Advertiser
Participants at a past Grazing Matcher course.
Camera IconParticipants at a past Grazing Matcher course. Credit: Supplied

The Wilson Inlet Catchment Committee are calling for farmers to take part in their Grazing Matcher rotational grazing training to improve yield and stock health.

The Grazing Matcher was created after feedback received from workshops on maximising hay and silage production in a dry season in August 2017.

The workshops found that participants wanted more support in order to implement the complex principles, and so the 12-month program was born.

Rotational grazing promotes a recovery period for pastures to allow more feed to grow.

Executive officer Shaun Ossinger said it was believed to help plants establish and become more resilient to dry periods.

“Because the animals are allocated smaller areas for each period, manure distribution are more uniformly distributed,” he said.

“Overgrazing can be avoided with less risk for erosion and soil degradation as soil matter holds together better and is not washed away during storms.

“Weeds are better controlled but other control measures may also be required.”

Mr Ossinger said that with WA pasture supply being dictated by a Mediterranean climate, there was often a feed deficit in late summer to early winter, and surplus in spring and early summer.

“The program adapted the principles learnt from the dairy industry to assist beef and sheep producers under southern WA conditions to better match the inputs to maximise outputs,” he said.

“The facilitated learning program introduce producers to proven principles of pasture and animal productions so they can implement management decisions accordingly to seasonal condition, soil type and the characteristics of their own management system and enterprise. It supports producers with grazing decisions over the seasons, since pre-seeding time, plant emergence through the various season.”

Participants will also learn about how animal requirements change depending on age or production stage, and how to understand feed test analysis to make better decisions.

WICC are searching for eight grazers to join the fourth group set to start in March.

He said deregulation of the WA dairy industry prompted changes to increase efficiency.

“Given dairy cows are milked twice, the dairy producers could adapt to a very intensive grazing rotation program,” he said.

For details, visit wicc.org.au/grazing-matcher.

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