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Improving cost-effectiveness of supplementation systems for breeder herds in northern Australia

Low level strategic supplements constitute one of the few options for northern beef producers to increase breeder productivity and profitability. Objectives of the project were to improve the cost-effectiveness of using such supplements and to improve supplement delivery systems. Urea-based supplements fed during the dry season can substantially reduce breeder liveweight loss and increase fertility during severe dry seasons.  Also when fed during the late wet season these supplements increased breeder body liveweight and increased fertility of breeders in low body condition.

Intake of dry lick supplements fed free choice is apparently determined primarily by the palatability of supplements relative to pasture, and training of cattle appears to be of limited importance. Siting of supplementation points has some effect on supplement intake, but little effect on grazing behaviour. Economic analysis of supplementation (urea, phosphorus or molasses) and weaning strategies was based on the relative efficacy of these strategies to maintain breeder body condition late in the dry season. Adequate body condition of breeders at this time of the year is needed to avoid mortality from under-nutrition and achieve satisfactory fertility of breeders during the following wet season.  Supplements were highly cost-effective when they reduced mortality, but economic returns were generally low if the only benefit was increased fertility.

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Title Size Date published
3.1MB 01/09/1998

This page was last updated on 04/09/2018

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