Tackling tough seasons proactively

04 January 2016

Be prepared and act early were the key messages delivered at the recent Tackling Tough Seasons events held in Tasmania. The events were delivered through MLA’s More Beef from Pastures and Making More From Sheep programs and supported by Roberts Ltd.

Presenting at the events were agricultural climate specialist Graeme Anderson, beef and sheep producer Ed Archer, agronomic advisor Terry Horan and agribusiness consultant Basil Doonan.

Make your business more resilient to seasonal variability

The top tips recommended for producers in preparing for seasonal variation included:

  • Improving pasture management skills by attending locally run pasture management courses and accessing the online pasture growth and utilisation modules of More Beef from Pastures and Making More from Sheep to maximise productivity from pasture resources.

  • Incorporating feed budgeting tools as important components for planning ahead. Tools such as MLA’s Feed Demand Calculator are helpful for making decisions about stocking rates for the season ahead and if or when supplementary feeding will be required.

  • Considering early decision making about destocking and retaining pasture resources for fodder; not only in the season ahead but for the seasons that follow as well.

  • Planning ahead by using tools such as MLA’s Rainfall to Pasture Growth Outlook Tool; assess pastures now and understand the potential growth patterns in the next few months.

  • Accessing seasonal forecasts from reliable sources, such as the Bureau of Meteorology Seasonal Outlook Video, when planning an approach to the season ahead.

With these tips in mind, producers will be better equipped to make early decisions and be better prepared for managing any type of season.

Beef and sheep producer Clare Peltzer from Evandale in Tasmania’s north, attended the Launceston event.

“I see farming as being primarily about growing grass and then converting the grass you grow into an animal product. Effectively managing your pasture resource to optimise production is crucial, especially in a tough season,” said Clare.

Pasture management courses are currently being organised for Tasmanian red meat producers through the More Beef from Pastures and Making More from Sheep programs. The Pasture Principles course involves a two-day theory workshop, followed by six on-farm, group coaching sessions in the months afterwards to support participants in putting the theory into practice. Places are still available, with groups forming across the state.

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