Filling the winter feed gap

17 July 2015

The value of grazing wheat and barley, compared to the traditionally grown oats, will be explained to producers attending the MLA-sponsored NSW Grassland Society Pasture Update at the Collerreina Hall, in Central-West NSW, on Wednesday 29 July 2015.

Central West LSS Senior Land Services Officer – Cropping, Neroli Brennan, will explain why wheat and barley are good dual-purpose crops as integrated pasture solutions to fill the feed gap.

“Wheat and barley still provide a significant amount of high quality feed during the winter months when pasture growth is slow, but also allow producers to take the crop through to harvest with higher grain yields,” she said.

Neroli will also cover local best-practice management, such as when to plant and grazing trigger points to ensure successful dual purpose cropping without compromising yield potential:

  • Planting: Dual-purpose wheat is generally sown two weeks earlier than a grain-only crop to produce biomass in the warmer autumn period.
  • Grazing: After the plant is well anchored in the soil, generally at six to eight weeks after planting or when the plant is beginning to tiller (growth stage Z21)
  • Stock removal: Prior to stem elongation (growth stage 31) so developing heads are not removed.

Neroli said producers will visit a property with forage brassica to see how this crop provides an alternative to fill the winter feed gap,  while also providing a disease break in areas where canola or pulse crops are not able to be sown in a normal cropping rotation.

“Producers will see how management will let them capitalise on the high volumes of feed produced by brassicas, such as setting appropriate stocking rates for even grazing and removing stock before the developing head is grazed (when plants are about 10cm from ground level),” she said.

“This provides sufficient residual plant material so the plant can regrow sufficient biomass to meet yield potential at the end of the season.”

The Pasture Update will also showcase strategies to boost the feedbase and lift livestock production, such as:

  • improving pasture establishment and management
  • incorporating hard-seeded legumes, including bladder clover and biserrula, in crop rotations
  • planting annual crops such as dual-purpose oats and brassica forage crops
  • preparing to establish pasture in a cropping system
  • assessing the value of feed for livestock performance
  • supplementing livestock on dual-purpose crops
  • avoiding livestock health issues when grazing dual purpose crops
  • assessing ram soundness and within-flock selection to improve flock reproduction

Local agronomists, industry specialists and researchers from the Central-West and Riverina will be on hand to deliver the latest research results and discuss practical strategies to improve pasture and livestock productivity. Participants can see pasture management strategies first-hand on tours of several local properties.

Pasture Update details:

When: 29 July, 8.15am for an 8.30am start.  The day will conclude at 4.30 pm.  

Where: Collerreina Hall, on the Nyngan-Condobolin Road, also known as Cockies Road.

Cost: $20

Registration: Registrations are essential by Friday 24 July, contact Janelle Witschi, 0408 612 235 or secretary@grasslandnsw.com.au

More information

Trudie Atkinson, NSW DPI, 0427 102 431

Central West LLS, Neroli Brennan, 0428 692 713

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