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Implementation of Producer Demonstration Sites to increase research adoption and practice change in Queensland
B.NBP.0600 (PDS1) - Investigating and improving market compliance issues in beef markets in central Queensland
Beef cattle producers involved with the Rolleston CQ BEEF group identified market compliance as an area which could be improved within their beef businesses. An UltrAmac® fat depth scanner was purchased to objectively measure fat depth at the P8 site before cattle were sent to the abattoir.
The overall EU compliance rate was very good at 87 percent with the main cause for non- compliance being P8 fat (6.5%) and meat colour (3.9%). The MSA grading was 60 percent. A further 22 percent which met MSA grading failed to meet abattoir specifications mainly due to dentition and Hot Standard Carcase Weight (HSCW). Management to improve compliance rates could be relatively simple. The fat scanner proved to be a very useful tool for making the decision of which cattle are ready to sell.
B.NBP.0600 (PDS3) - PDS to demonstrate the impacts of land preparation techniques on leucaena establishment and productivity in central Queensland
Leucaena-grass pastures in suitable landscapes can double cattle weight gain and triple economic returns (Bowen et al 2010), however establishment is expensive and prone to failure if recognised land management practices are not adequately adhered to (Shelton and Dalzell 2007). Rising input costs of fuel, chemical, fertiliser and labour are encouraging producers to improve establishment techniques while minimising associated costs.
Producer members of the Biloela CQ BEEF project group undertook comprehensive business and situation analysis to identify scope for improvement in their businesses. A common theme from this analysis has been the need to increase beef production, and a range of options and strategies have been developed including the utilisation of Leucaena. Many producers in the Biloela group have already planted Leucaena with a number wishing to extend these existing plantings.
The key establishment options these producers wanted to investigate include whether to rip the Leucaena runs prior to planting, and whether to prepare strips versus full grass removal. The theory behind these options is to provide a better soil environment by having greater soil-water availability and limited impediments to root growth. This provides reduced establishment risk and vigorous, even growth during the establishment period, resulting in earlier and more productive grazing in the long term.
The objectives of this project were to:
1. Demonstrate the production and economic impacts of ripping prior to planting Leucaena.
2. Demonstrate the production impacts of either fully removing grass or in strips prior to Leucaena establishment. Project activities occurred on two properties, Drumburle and Lawgi Station near Thangool (Callide Valley district). Drumburle is utilised primarily as a breeding property whereas Lawgi Station is utilised for growing and finishing.
B.NBP.0600 (PDS 6) - The economic performance of beef cattle finishing systems used on the North-Eastern Downs
Producers finish cattle using different systems, but which are profitable? A PDS at 'Bannockburn' near Bell in Queensland evaluated the economics of finishing systems encompassing sown grass-only pastures, leucaena-grass, forage oats and feedlotting. Two mobs of EU steers (350 kg entry liveweight) were assessed, 87 head in 2011 and 100 head in 2012. Three-quarters of each mob grazed leucaena-grass for six months until June and then split onto oats, into the feedlot or onto leucaena-grass. The remaining steers grazed grass-only for the entire period. Steers were weighed six times, faecal samples were collected monthly to determine diet quality and stocking rates were monitored continuously. Systems were compared on the partial return on livestock capital invested. The high-input systems (leucaena, oats and feedlot) produced significantly higher annual returns than the grass-only system both years. The kilograms of liveweight produced per hectare in the leucaena-grass finishing system was double that of the grass-only. Approximately 200 people attended three field days run in conjunction with this PDS and 11 businesses attended workshop training days. Feedback from these events suggested that the objective data from the demonstration created awareness and prompted practice change.
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PDS - Qld. Implementation of Producer Demonstration Sites to increase research adoption and practice change in Queensland
This page was last updated on 02/08/2018
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