Field day focus on grazing
FARMERS had a chance to hear how to make the most of irrigated grazing systems at a field day last week.
The Bothwell Town Hall was packed as the Longford Red Meat Group and Water for Profit event day attracted around 80 participants.
They heard an update on the three-year producer demonstration trial measuring productivity and profitability of prime-lamb breeding and finishing on irrigated ryegrass and clover under rotational and set-stocked systems.
Year-two trial host John Ramsay said it had been a great learning experience and he was looking forward to the final results.
Field-day participants visited the site to observe options for fencing and infrastructure under centre pivots and speakers covered topics relevant to maximising productivity.
“When it comes to lamb finishing feed quality is everything, and quality is a function of management,” Macquarie Franklin’s Basil Doonan said.
“Pasture management is the fundamental skill that determines financial performance of pasture-based grazing systems,” Mr Doonan said.
Veterinarian Bruce Jackson spoke about worm management under intensive systems.
“Most worm larvae die out on pasture between August and December, no matter when deposited. However, in dryland larvae wait in faecal pellets and when irrigated they migrate to pasture land.”
Dr Jackson urged farmers to monitor their mob and worm-egg counts regularly.
James Hill from the Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture said that to help pasture grow, farmers needed to irrigate adequately with good scheduling because poor watering cost production and money.
He said it was critical irrigators knew the readily available water of their soil type, the capacity of their systems, for example sprinkler pack size, and the local conditions to understand how quickly their water was being used.
He urged farmers to beware of green drought and said underwatering could cut pasture growth rates by 50 per cent.
“Green drought happens when poor irrigation scheduling leads to deficits and the application of irrigation water keeps the grass green, but doesn’t result in optimum pasture growth rates.”
“Scheduling irrigation to keep water in the soil’s readily available zone is really important,” he said.
Sheep farmer Tim Johnson and son Andrew from Kempton said the field day helped them learn about value-adding water on the property
Event co-ordinator Leanne Sherriff from Macquarie Franklin, was delighted with the turnout.
Registrations are now open for Macquarie Franklin’s Pasture Principles program 2018. For details call 6427 5300.