Top tools for spring pasture management
11 September 2015
September and October generally offer the peak pasture production period for much of southern Australia, but the true benefit of that growth is only realised when matched with the right stocking rates.
Here are some tools to help you plan for and manage that production for optimum productivity:
Get an understanding of the growth patterns of different pasture species in different regions with Making More From Sheep's Module 7 ‘Grow More Pasture’ and Module 8 ‘Turn Pasture into Product’ - particularly Tool 8.2: daily pasture growth estimates . Cattle producers can read the More Beef from Pastures ‘Pasture Growth’ Module.
MLA's Rainfall to Pasture Growth Outlook tool presents the actual rainfall and indices of soil moisture and pasture growth for the past nine months and an outlook for the next three months for more than 3,300 locations across southern Australia. Watch these video tutorials which explain how it works, how to interpret results and how those results can be used in your business. You can also download the handy Tips and Tools that give you a quick overview on how to use the tool.
A Feed Budget and Rotation Planner was one of the outcomes of the EverGraze program. It helps to plan rotational grazing systems, determine appropriate stocking rates, calculate pasture growth rates, determine how long paddocks will last and calculate the most economical ration. MLA's Stocking Rate Calculator can also help determine how many animals the pasture will sustain. More Beef from Pastures' ‘Pasture Utilisation’ module works through many of the decisions to be made when managing pasture.
Research is currently being funded by MLA with the CRC for Spatial Information on developing real time biomass sensing technology which would allow producers to measure and monitor pasture growth using an app. Work with five producer groups and 60 producers across southern Australia is underway to calibrate 10 different pastures at critical times of the production cycle.
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