The BCG Research Team are undertaking trials across the Wimmera Mallee and are constantly on the look-out for timely, topical and technical information in the paddocks.

Australia’s livestock industry primarily involves broadacre beef cattle and calves, sheep and lambs, wool and goats, as well as more intensive dairy, pigs and poultry and egg production.

Livestock BLOG - Updates from the field

Realising the benefits of eIDs

1 October 2020 - Alison Frischke

Are you wanting to trace productivity in your breeding ewes or make better informed decisions when selecting rams? Wanting to manage sheep on feed but unsure how to group them into management lots? Are you interested in using your time in the yards more efficiently while reducing labour requirement? Or do you have other ideas on how to use sheep electronic ear tags, but haven’t tried them yet? If so, we’d like to hear from you.

BCG and SFS have partnered with MLA over the next 4 years to provide opportunity for 35 members to identify and test novel ways of using sheep eIDs.

Although eIDs are mandatory in Victoria for biosecurity and lifetime sheep traceability, there are many opportunities to use eID to benefit your operations and assist you to make better informed management decisions on farm too. Benefits vary between producers and regions, so this new producer demonstration project will allow you to test eID applications for the benefits you want to achieve. You are not limited to any particular pieces of equipment or recording programs, and support will be provided to get started and connect with eID specialists.

You can become involved in the project in several ways; by testing an idea, to being a close observer of projects other producers are undertaking, or just by following developments through the discussion group:

Interested producers can also watch a short introductory video on the project at:

BCG and SFS will support you to get started or add something new to your monitoring and management, and will share ideas and organise farm visits when we can resume.

For further information and to indicate your interest, please contact:

Alison Frischke, Birchip Cropping Group, [email protected], 0429 922 787
Tahlia Bruce, Southern Farming Systems, [email protected], 0418 462 967

Livestock Systems Update

1 October 2020 - Alison Frischke

Recent BCG activities in livestock systems have focussed on fodder. We are working on several project proposals looking at pasture and fodder options, and their management for production and quality to meet the needs of livestock and look after soils.

Oaten Hay Agronomy Trials
Harvest time for AgriFutures and BCG Member oaten hay agronomy trials at Curyo and Rupanyup, is now upon us. 

Optimum hay cutting time is at growth stage Z71; the watery ripe stage reached just before milk development. Watery ripe provides the best compromise between hay yield and quality; cutting before this stage results in decreased stem thickness and better quality, but there are significant yield penalties. Cutting hay after the watery ripe stage may increase hay yield, but can result in poorer quality hay with lower water soluble carbohydrates, lower crude protein, higher fibre and poor colour.

When the grain is squeezed, a watery green/white liquid will come out (left). When the grain is squeezed and a milky white liquid comes out (right), hay quality is already being compromised (Photo source). Squeeze the top floret at several locations across the paddock - if more than half are at Z71 then it is ready to cut. If more than 10mm of rain is forecast, there is a 5-7 day window you can delay cutting to enable the crop to dry and allow better curing conditions.

At Curyo: all oaten hay varieties sown on 5th May, and Durack sown on 28th May have reached the watery ripe, growth stage Z71 and have been cut for yield and quality assessments. Some warmer weather this week will advance maturity of the remaining later sown varieties.

Curyo 7th September: effect of PGR (foreground) on Durack, reducing height and delaying maturity.

At Rupanyup: no treatments have been cut for hay yet, but early sown, 6th May, varieties with higher nitrogen rates between 90-150kg N/ha are on the verge compared with varieties sown on 29th May or with 10-60kg N/ha.

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