Home grown feed improves profits
HIGH livestock prices coupled with widespread rain have created favourable conditions across much of the country to plant winter pastures to improve profitability.
Kelly Burke is the product development manager for PGG Wrightson Seeds and said producing home grown winter feed is a cheaper alternative to buying-in feed.
“We have done a lot of work around manipulating the sowing rates of seeds to show return on investment from sowing rates in annual and Italian ryegrasses,” Mr Burke said.
“And home grown pasture is certainly the cheaper option.
“If farmers can, they should be looking at growing their own hay or silage.”
Mr Burke said a good way to value winter feed is by looking at the cost equivalent of buying in supplementary feed.
“Recent trials conducted by PGG Wrightson Seeds at our research farm near Ballarat show that a farmer can increase their profit with incremental increases in sowing rates from 20kg to 44kg per hectare,” Mr Burke said.
“The trial compared the cost of home grown pasture to purchased barley and showed that cumulative additional profit of sowing 44kg of annual ryegrass over a hectare was $96.50 per hectare.”
Fourth generation Yarra Valley beef and sheep producer, David De Pury, planted Reward Endo 5 last autumn to maximise the quality of grass right up to Christmas.
“We were looking for a high quality perennial ryegrass that would mature late in the season and also have good vigour in the autumn and the winter, so those key times of the year when we were short of feed,” Mr De Pury said.
“We are trying to maximise the profit we get out of every paddock because of the high running costs - if we don’t run the business profitably and sustainably we won’t be here in the long haul.”
GROW YOUR OWN: Yarra Valley beef and sheep producer David De Pury and his high-quality perennial ryegrass.