Theme 3: Livestock--Oral Sessions

Description

In exclusively rain-fed/grass-fed grazing systems, Short Term High-Performance Pastures (HPP) are used in specialised finishing paddocks to produce high-quality feed, enabling livestock to maximise their genetic production potential and meet market carcass specifications at the youngest age possible. This strategy not only achieves premium prices but also requires just 8% of a breeding enterprise’s land to finish animals. Described are the range of species choices and combinations used in different environments of the Australian Eastern high rainfall zone, the reasons these species are used and the options available to meet animal requirements strategically. Instead of a monoculture of fodder crops, combinations of short-term hybrid ryegrasses with annual clover species and forage herbs are utilised to ensure animals gain weight every day of the year. Details are given of the tools used to optimise plant production such as the timing of synthetic fertilizer, use of recycled organic material to reduce metabolic stress on animals, and plant growth regulators to boost plant growth. Explanations are given on how the HPP system is used to enhance grazing enterprises in the erratic climate of eastern Australia and to boost recovery from the catastrophic economic consequences of drought. Key performance indicators include weight gain per 100 mm rainfall and dry matter per unit of nitrogen. These measurements have caused a paradigm shift in managers’ thinking on what is important in profitable livestock enterprises and widening their focus beyond animal and plant genetics. Evidence and examples are given on the use of HPP to ensure that farm operators not only survive but thrive, taking profitable control of their livestock finishing enterprises.

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Short-Term High-Performance Pastures in Temperate Eastern Australia

In exclusively rain-fed/grass-fed grazing systems, Short Term High-Performance Pastures (HPP) are used in specialised finishing paddocks to produce high-quality feed, enabling livestock to maximise their genetic production potential and meet market carcass specifications at the youngest age possible. This strategy not only achieves premium prices but also requires just 8% of a breeding enterprise’s land to finish animals. Described are the range of species choices and combinations used in different environments of the Australian Eastern high rainfall zone, the reasons these species are used and the options available to meet animal requirements strategically. Instead of a monoculture of fodder crops, combinations of short-term hybrid ryegrasses with annual clover species and forage herbs are utilised to ensure animals gain weight every day of the year. Details are given of the tools used to optimise plant production such as the timing of synthetic fertilizer, use of recycled organic material to reduce metabolic stress on animals, and plant growth regulators to boost plant growth. Explanations are given on how the HPP system is used to enhance grazing enterprises in the erratic climate of eastern Australia and to boost recovery from the catastrophic economic consequences of drought. Key performance indicators include weight gain per 100 mm rainfall and dry matter per unit of nitrogen. These measurements have caused a paradigm shift in managers’ thinking on what is important in profitable livestock enterprises and widening their focus beyond animal and plant genetics. Evidence and examples are given on the use of HPP to ensure that farm operators not only survive but thrive, taking profitable control of their livestock finishing enterprises.