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Planning how to feed the herd

LUSH PASTURE: From left: Tom Amey of Dyraaba and Angus Lego (Norco agronomist) inspecting the clover content in the newly sown pasture.
LUSH PASTURE: From left: Tom Amey of Dyraaba and Angus Lego (Norco agronomist) inspecting the clover content in the newly sown pasture. Contributed

BEEF farmer Tom Amey is working his way through a 10-year property development program on his Dyraaba property.

The pasture component is aimed at feeding the herd throughout the year by utilising different pasture species on the capability units on the property.

Oats and ryegrass are direct drilled into the creek flats; however land units that are too steep or rocky to allow direct drilling operations are sprayed off with roundup and have the seed and fertiliser surface spread by truck.

Since the program began 40ha have been sprayed off and had the seed surface applied and over the next five years another 70ha is planned to be developed.

"The spray and surface seeding method gives a satisfactory plant population at a fraction of the cost of the cultivation method," Mr Amey said.

"March is the favoured month for the planting operation as the rainfall is generally more reliable.

"Also the late summer/autumn period allows the desired tropical grasses; Setaria, Rhodes grass and temperate species; oats and clover to be sown in the one operation."

Mr Amey said production from the tropical grasses is initially slow; however, the plants are established and ready to take advantage of any spring storms.

"The 20ha planted this year had slow early growth due to the excessive rainfall," he said.

"The lower competition from the pasture also allowed a reasonable high population of fire weed to establish."

The fire weed and other weeds will be managed by planned grazing and some strategic slashing.

Slashing and strategic heavy grazing in late summer/autumn are used to maintain the clover content in the pasture at about 30% which allows Mr Amey to carry more cows through the winter months.

Mr Amey is an advocate for MLA's 'More Beef from Pastures' programme and is willing to share any of his thoughts with any producers.

He will be hosting a field day later this year that will be organised by NSW DPI, Casino.

Topics:  animal health dyraaba livestock pastures