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High-output forage systems for meeting beef markets

Project start date: 31 October 2009
Project end date: 05 November 2010
Publication date: 01 March 2011
Project status: Completed
Livestock species: Grassfed cattle, Grainfed cattle
Relevant regions: Sub-tropical moist
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This report addresses the issue of how to identify, grow, manage and profitably utilise high quality, speciality forages for growing and finishing beef cattle in the Fitzroy River catchment. Best-practice agronomic management of forages and data for cattle production responses in the target area were reviewed. In addition, existing forage decision support tools were reviewed and recommendations made on an approach to develop a simple animal production model for forages. A partial budgeting approach was used to assess five high quality forages and a baseline pasture option to indicate the relative profitability of key forage options. T​​his was done at each of three sites within the Fitzroy River catchment and for both zero till and cultivation methods of fallow weed control. This information can be used, in conjunction with qualitative assessment of social, managerial and environmental factors and assessment of flow-on effects on whole farm profitability, to help inform decisions about whether, when and how to incorporate various high quality forage systems into a beef production enterprise. A best-practice management guide, Using high quality forages to meet beef markets in the Fitzroy River catchment, and a spreadsheet calculator, ForageCalc, have been produced and can be used to support decision making.​​

More information

Project manager: Mick Quirk
Primary researcher: Department of Employment and Econimic development & I