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Managing a late break in 2024

03 July 2024

Following the dry conditions that much of southern Australia experienced over autumn, three industry experts have come together for a special episode of the MLA Productivity & Profitability podcast series to share some practical advice.

Featuring WA farm management consultant Ed Riggall, SA agronomist Felicity Turner, NSW veterinarian Dr Shane Thompson and host Tanisha Shields, this episode combats:

  • how to assess and manage business risk to make informed decisions
  • ways to manage pasture resources and promote growth during winter and into spring
  • health and nutritional requirements for animals during the winter period.

Managing business risk

Throughout the episode, Ed Riggall discusses simple systems that optimise profit, manage risk and ensure that management can sustain efforts without burning out.

As Director and Principal Consultant of AgPro Management, he draws upon his 20 years of experience in designing farming systems – whether it be for sheep enterprises, whole farm, or crop and sheep interactions.

Currently consulting for 150 businesses across WA, Ed’s key message to both his clients and podcast listeners when it comes to making business decisions to combat poorer seasons is: “it doesn’t have to be expensive, and it doesn’t have to be complicated.”

During his segment, Ed touched on knowing when to sell and buy, understanding investments that pay off in the long term and preparing for plans to change.

Managing pasture

Felicity Turner from Turner Agri Services discussed ways to get your pasture back on track after a late break.

She has over 25 years’ worth of experience in sustainable farming practices, crop and pasture agronomy, livestock production and precision agriculture.

Some key actions Felicity recommended southern producers undertake this winter to help revive their impacted pastures include:

  • retaining 800–1,200kg of dry matter per hectare
  • testing soil fertility and importing nutrients where needed
  • confinement feeding to allow paddocks to be rested and pasture residuals to be maintained
  • utilising remaining pastures to build on-farm hay stock.

Managing animal welfare

Dr Shane Thompson is a partner at Holbrook Vet Centre, where they have a strong focus on production and breeding services for the beef industry.

Servicing both seedstock and commercial producers, Shane has experience in artificial insemination, embryo transfers, bull fertility examinations and ultrasound pregnancy scanning.

During the podcast, he shared insights into the different nutritional requirements for livestock across the production chain and how producers can meet them.

He highlighted the importance of getting feed tests done, how to maintain weight among stock when pasture is impacted, as well as how to ensure pregnant and lactating females are getting enough protein and energy to support young stock all the way into weaning.

A key highlight of Shane’s segment was his top tips for producers on drift calving, easy and effective containment feeding, and getting the most out of supplementary feed for the right price.

Listen to the episode