Trial on dairy cat­tle be­gins

Gatton Star - - Into Rural -

THE adap­ta­tion pe­riod for phase one of the DAF De­vel­op­men­tal Trail has com­menced at the UQ/DAF Gat­ton Dairy.

A to­tal of 60 cows have been al­lo­cated into their PMR and TMR herds and are be­ing fed their re­spec­tive di­ets that rep­re­sent high for­age: con­cen­trate ra­tios.

The PMR herd is be­ing of­fered some out­stand­ing Kikuyu pas­ture that is be­ing man­aged with the as­sis­tance of prac­ti­cal tools avail­able to in­dus­try such as a G-Dot soil mois­ture mon­i­tor­ing de­vice.

Dur­ing phase one, the two herds will be fed di­ets based on ir­ri­gated for­ages such as high chopped corn silage, sorghum head­lage, soy­bean silage and high qual­ity kikuyu pas­ture.

The di­ets con­sist of more than 90% for­age with the re­main­ing amount made up of a small por­tion of grain and pro­tein meal.

Al­though con­cen­trates are still re­quired, us­ing more than 90% of for­age in the di­ets chal­lenge in­dus­try’s av­er­age of 50-60% as well as sig­nif­i­cantly re­duc­ing the diet cost.

The in­ten­si­fi­ca­tion of the Queens­land dairy in­dus­try has re­sulted in the cost of pur­chased feed in­creas­ing from 12.6c/L in 2005-06 up to 24.2c/L in 2014-15 with an in­creased re­liance on pur­chased pro­tein sources.

The trial ex­am­ines a com­bi­na­tion of pas­tures and for­ages that man­aged to achieve a high qual­ity feed that will re­duce feed costs and in­crease the mar­gin over feed costs over the au­tumn pe­riod.

The launch was at­tended by 40 in­ter­ested ser­vice providers and farm­ers, keen to find out about the al­ter­na­tive for­ages be­ing used in the trial.

All di­ets in the trial con­sist of over 80% for­age.

Open days will be held at the Gat­ton fa­cil­ity through­out the trial.

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