MFMG were successful in receiving funding to conduct two cattle projects in the south east of SA and the western district of Victoria from 2019-2021. The projects will encourage group learning based around a number of demonstration sites across the region and will focus on increasing heifer conception rates, decreasing calving difficulty, improving herd genetics, cost effectively feeding weaners for increased growth rates over summer and autumn, and increasing your bottom line.

The post-weaning management strategies for beef herds project aims to establish 5 demonstration sites and 3 discussion groups across the South East of SA and the Western District of Victoria to provide cost benefit comparisons of different local feeding options for increasing growth rates of weaner cattle.

The project aim for maximising genetic improvement in cattle herds is to demonstrate the advantages of managing beef herds using the Bred Well Fed Well for Cattle principles on a whole-farm scale.

There will be more information on this project soon….

MLA Producer Demonstration Site

OVERVIEW: Post-Weaning Management Strategies for Beef Herds

Project aim:
To quantify the cost benefit of different post-weaning feeding management systems for cattle in the South East of SA and the Western District of Victoria to maintain adequate growth rates to reach production targets in steers and heifers.

Introduction:
Beef herds in southern Australia often endure very dry periods over the summer and autumn, resulting in stagnation of both heifer and steer growth rates for up to 6 months of the year. This has an impact on producers’ bottom lines, as cattle are held for longer, consume more feed, and are sold at a time when supply is at its highest and prices are often at their lowest. Growth stagnation and can also negatively impact eating quality, and result in heifers with smaller pelvic areas, increasing the risk of calving difficulty.

The project aims to establish 5 demonstration sites and 3 discussion groups across the South East of SA and the Western District of Victoria to provide cost benefit comparisons of different local feeding options for increasing growth rates of weaner cattle.

What you’ll need to do as a demonstration site host and/or member of your discussion group:

With assistance from the project officer:

  • Record historical post-weaning strategies to use as a benchmark;
  • Choose a post-weaning strategy to trial and compare to your normal practice (e.g. irrigation compared to dryland, stubbles compared to irrigation, silage compared to hay);
  • Record weaner liveweights at a minimum of 3 points over the summer/autumn period;
  • Assess feed value and feed availability at a minimum of 3 points over the summer/autumn period;
  • Complete a cost benefit analysis on each farm for each feeding strategy in each season;
  • Record heifer conception rates;
  • Record days from weaning until sale and carcass/animal value at sale for steers and cull heifers;
  • Participate in a discussion group, meeting 7 times over the 3 years of the project, to help advise on the demonstration site activities, review results of the project, and to learn about nutrition and farm management.

What you’ll get out of the project:

  • A cost-benefit analysis of the different post-weaning feeding systems used in your area, allowing you to directly compare the best options for you and your business;
  • Increase the growth rates of your cattle over the summer and autumn period;
  • Find cost effective solutions to the autumn feed gap;
  • Hone your livestock and pasture management skills; and
  • Hone your business management skills.

This project is part of the Producer Demonstration Site program, which is funded by MLA.      

Please contact Meg for further details:

Meg Bell, CEO

MacKillop Farm Management Group

M: 0433 499 630 | E: ceo@mackillopgroup.com.au

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