PROVIDING cattle with a balanced diet during times of drought was the focus of a recent workshop hosted by NQ Dry Tropics near Bowen.
Wade Agriculture Consultants principal consultancy nutritionist Jim Wade delivered the science-based supplementation workshop at the Yensch family’s Woodlands Station.
Mr Wade said as pastures dried off, graziers could be left with low protein, stubble and roughage to get stock through the summer, which was where supplementation could play a vital role.
“It comes back to the benefits of grazing best practices that land managers undertake to help minimise the risk of drought and maximise opportunities during good seasons,” Mr Wade said.
“It’s about balancing how much grazing occurs and how much time is allowed for recovery of the grazed pastures, and knowing what feed additives to provide livestock, including custom supplement mixes for optimum performance dependent on the season.
“Healthy animals fed balanced diets and provided with good supplies of fresh water will be the most productive. These animals will be the most profitable to the landholder and the most efficient users of nutrients.”
Mr Wade covered a broad range of topics including how to balance breeder numbers to increase production, and the benefits of creep feeding, a management practice that allows calves unrestricted access to additional feed while they are still suckling to help them reach target market specifications and Meat Standard Australia grading at a young age, even in adverse seasonal conditions.
Other topics included balancing protein, trace elements and energy, improving feed quality, the benefits of soil, plant tissue and water testing and analysis, and better supplementation for pasture management.
NQ Dry Tropics Grazing BMP coordinator Lisa Hutchinson said better soil, pasture, water and stock movement could help graziers improve their long-term productivity and profitability.
“Keeping ground cover, moving cattle around to help look after pasture, and knowing what to feed cattle by undertaking diagnostic tests of plant tissue, soil and water, were key take home messages,” Ms Hutchinson said.
Workshop participant Calvin Kelly, of Bulloak Brahman Stud, Bowen, said information about diagnostic testing was valuable.
“It’s important to get the nutrition right to suit our country and how to boost trace elements to help our cattle get through the dry,” Mr Kelly said.
Mark Perkinson, of Five Mile Station, Bowen, said the workshop emphasised how important it was for him to refine lick to boost nutrition.
“It also highlights that it’s critical to care for the landscape to reinvigorate the nutrient cycle, build species diversity and increase ground cover plant density to make sure our herd benefits by gaining and holding weight during dry times,” Mr Perkinson said.