Increasing adoption of Phosphorus supplementation in Northern Australia
|Project start date:||30 October 2020|
|Project end date:||28 May 2027|
|Publication date:||04 June 2021|
|Project status:||In progress|
|Livestock species:||Grass-fed Cattle|
|Relevant regions:||Northern Australia|
Phosphorus deficiency results in poor growth, high breeder mortality rates, reduced fertility and milk production. The greatest benefits from supplementation on deficient pastures are achieved over the wet season when grass is green, and stock are gaining weight (when P is the main limiting nutrient due to high energy and protein availability).
In northern Australia, only a small number of cattle that are grazing on phosphorous deficient pastures are being managed with phosphorous supplementation. This is due in part to perceived difficulties in implementing wet season phosphorus supplementation on extensive properties. The goal of this project is to validate and implement an ‘easy’ wet season phosphorous supplementation program on properties that currently do not have one.
Increasing adoption of phosphorous supplementation in Northern Australia will encourage producers who face challenges in providing appropriate phosphorous supplementation an achievable strategy.
The objective of this project is to demonstrate that the Easy P strategy is an effective method of phosphorous supplementation in northern Australia for properties where it is hard to distribute supplement during the wet season.
The project will involve producer demonstration sites (PDS) to show producers the benefits of the Easy P supplementation system and provide objective information that they can use to conduct cost: benefit analyses when considering adoption of P supplementation.
Benefits to industry
By implementing the Easy P strategy, it is estimated that:
- pregnancy rates will increase by ~12% in maiden heifers, ~20% in first lactation heifers and ~40% in breeders
- the mortality rate will be reduced by 3 percentage units per year with the extra value of calves weaned being $102 per year for each female mated
- the cumulative return on investment for money spent on supplement will be in the order of 280% after 4 years
- the ‘Easy P’ system would return $2.50 for every $1 spent by producers.
- Improved management of cattle phosphorus status through applied physiology, MLA final report, 20 January 2020
- Improving prediction of phosphorus intake of cattle grazing tropical pastures, MLA final report, 14 June 2016
- Producer Phosphorus manual for the northern cattle industry, MLA final report, 01 November 2012