Managing livestock in summer

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With spring pasture yields declining after below-average rainfall, producers are now discussing summer feed options. Coopers Farm Supplies’ Craig John suggests producers could consider planting a summer forage crop if the opportunity arises from a rain event.

“Soil temperature is now adequate for good germination and depending on soil type the placement of seed should be 25-50mm deep into moisture,” he said.

“Super Sweet Sudan (SSS) is a good choice as it is easier to manage and safer for grazing than forage sorghums."

“With the BoM saying there could be a chance of rain in early December, the four days after a 25mm rain event would be an ideal opportunity to sow.”

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SSS sorghum is tolerant of hot, dry conditions if there is adequate moisture for establishment, as it is a very hardy crop that can survive even a Mallee summer. Producers should assess the cost of different feed sources based on feed quality.

"The current cost of energy when feeding out barley or good quality legume hay are both about 1.8 cents per megajoule (c/MJ), compared to growing a summer SSS crop, which is close to half the price, at 1c/MJ," Craig said.

Craig says producers should be looking for feed with the right energy and protein content to achieve production targets for meat or milk.

“Sorghum will meet the energy requirements for most classes of stock, though you might need to supplement a small amount of good quality legume hay or lupin grains to top up the protein.”

By: Barossa Improved Grazing Group