Pro­ducer tries his hand at fod­der

Central and North Burnett Times - - LIFE - Rhi­an­non Tuffield Rhi­an­non.Tuffield@south­bur­nett­

FRAN­CIS Kruger is a pro­ducer who re­lied solely on rain up un­til re­cently, but the Kooral­gin farmer has re­cently dis­cov­ered the power of fod­der, and how it can boost his herd.

Mr Kruger has been in the busi­ness for the ma­jor­ity of his life, hav­ing grown up on a farm.

The sec­ond-gen­er­a­tion farmer was at the Coolabunia fat and store sale on Tues­day to sell his steers.

He and his wifeWendy run the Char­bray cross steer op­er­a­tion just out­side of Yar­ra­man.

The pair be­gan the ex­per­i­ment with bar­ley fod­der just over one month ago and have al­ready seen a change in their herd.

“I nor­mally buy store cat­tle just to fat­ten them up and sell them to the works, but we’re on one of those fod­der units at the mo­ment and de­cided to sprout the bar­ley and feed them that,” Mr Kruger said.

“I’ve only had it for a lit­tle while and I’ve just put the stock on them about 60 days ago, and they have re­ally come away real well.”

The 14 steers fetched an av­er­age of $2.70, which Mr Kruger said had come back off a higher price.

Mr Kruger said he was happy with the re­turn for his cat­tle, but the real re­sults would show in the next herd to go to sale.

“They’re cer­tainly putting on the weight, but my next line will tell the story,” he said. “We wanted to ex­per­i­ment be­cause of the weight gain that you can get, and, yeah, just to see if we could turn.

“You’ll put on a pretty good weight gain, and we should be able to turn them over in about 60-90 days, so it’s a quicker turnover.”

High grain prices and drought had, in the past, driven up the in­ter­est in al­ter­na­tive feeds, and sprout­ing bar­ley for fod­der has re­cently be­come an at­trac­tive so­lu­tion for pro­duc­ers.

The sprout­ing of fod­der orig­i­nates back to the 1600s, but mod­ern pro­duc­ers have adapted the tech­nique to im­prove their cat­tle fin a short amount of time.

The min­eral and vi­ta­min lev­els of sprouted bar­ley are sig­nif­i­cantly in­creased over those in grain and are ab­sorbed more ef­fi­ciently, pro­vid­ing vi­ta­mins.

DED­I­CATED: Kooral­gin pro­ducer Fran­cis Kruger.

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