Updated: Jul 7, 2020
Our industry once again faces extremes with areas of the country in the grip of extended dry times while others experiencing above average seasons.
What we do see as we travel across Australia meeting with industry leaders and our clients is the resilience of people and their desire to do better. Time and time again this is reflected in the results being achieved at a production level as growers we connect with strive to focus on the profit drivers positioning their livestock to capitalize on opportunities instead of wondering what might be?
Summer Feeding Programs are now well in our sights, as are the opportunities around feedlotting sheep/cattle and looking into next season where the cattle industry will be striving to rebuild numbers.
TRAC Performance Minerals and our team at Total Result Ag Consulting are positioned to grow with the increasing demand for technical knowledge and practical applications around livestock systems throughout Australia so be sure to TRAC us down….via your local rural supply outlet or our details below.
SUMMER FEEDING PROGRAMS
Consistency of feeding out can make or break your weight gains. The rumen takes 3-6 weeks to fully develop to a new feed source, when we feed grain the animal needs to develop a new mixture of microbes to efficiently breakdown and utilize the feed components. If we only feed every few days, or most days and skip the weekends, the pH and populations in the rumen will change and struggle to keep up. For this reason, it’s also important to be aware of the rates we are feeding to avoid critical issues such as acidosis.
The benefits of feeding a starch and protein mix are due to the stimulation of these microbes, that breakdown valuable feed bases such as stubbles to get the full benefits and maintain condition. We have already paid to put that weight on the animal, it is more cost efficient to maintain than it is to put back on later. Keeping an eye on body condition and regular pasture assessments means we can pick the correct date to come in with grains before going backwards.
Three key requirements we look for if we need to supplement feed:
Protein – from protein grains or protected urea sources TPM Dry Feed Mineral Supplement.
Energy – from grains high in starch or good quality hay.
Dry Matter and fill – Physically having enough food from either Pasture/Hay/ Stubbles on offer.
FEEDING SUMMER CROPS
Whether it is part of your pasture rotation or a designated crop to “finish’’ animals on, many farmers this year have planted forage brassica, turnips and herbs.
From past experiences when once the crop is mature, opening the gate and letting a mob/ herd in and forgetting about them doesn’t get us the best possible use of that crop.
Unfortunately summer crop is imbalanced for most classes of livestock with high soluble protein, mid energy and low functional fibre. If the animals are allowed access to the whole paddock at once they will “nip the top off” the plant. Resulting in a huge slug of protein not energy, and not enough fibre to allow the rumen to run effectively.
This then means we increase the rate of this feed going though the digestive tract to the point where the energy that the animal is trying to absorb ends up back out the other end on to the ground before they have a chance to extract it. So what can we do to make good use of all the cost we have just incurred.
Strip/ Block grazing
We need the animals to eat more of the “whole” plant in one sitting. The leaf, stem and in some cases the bulb will be more of a balanced diet then the leaf only. The bugs in these animals guts like a constant steam of nutrients that are balanced to optimise growth and or production. Also back fencing once the animals have left that area may mean that if the plant has regrowth potential then their maybe something grown back for another rotation. Feeding an energy source
With most Summer crops being extreme in crude protein % the addition of energy will be needed for the animal to utilise all that protein. Feeding a small amount of cereal grains will help the animal convert the protein that would be unavailable without the addition of an extra energy source.
Salt and minerals
Crops that are very digestible by the animal, will limit the amount of minerals that the animal will be able to extract before it turns to manure. A tub of TPM loose lick mineral will help keep animals balanced with some mineral interactions and some deficiency limiting stock performance - remembering that Zinc is a requirement while grazing brassica.
MACRO MINERALS IN LIVESTOCK PRODUCTION SYSTEMS
The role of mineral supplementation is extensively documented and often challenged in many circles, so why use minerals and what are you likely to see from using minerals.
Minerals…. the Silver Bullet?
Nothing is further from the truth when we consider livestock production systems, however the objective is to ensure the correct balance of Macro and Micro Minerals are available at critical times to:
Balance the immune system.
Support structural soundness
Support the efficient conversion of protein energy and fibre
Thus providing a healthy animal to underpin a profitable Livestock Enterprise.
Requirements depend on age, growth rates, stage of pregnancy, immune challenges, heat stress and other such physical and environmental challenges.
When searching for answers to what may seem probing questions around mineral supplementation, it is vital that the Total Dietary Intake is taken into consideration.
How it is being offered from home grown paddock feed where massive variations occur to a full TMR (Total Mixed Ration) where we have significant control over inputs. Our TRAC Experts are equip to assist in this area.
Macro Minerals are required in larger quantities than Micro Minerals and generally expressed as g/Kg DMI:
Calcium - required for bone and teeth formation, absorption of Phosphorous and Vitamin D, muscle contraction, enzyme activation, hormonal control. Deficiency signs can be reduced appetite, growth stunting, milk fever/low milk at lambing
Phosphorus - required in almost all metabolic functions, skeletal growth, energy production. Deficiency signs can be weakness, loss of appetite, poor feed conversion, poor fertility, poor lambing rates, chewing wood, rocks, bone
Magnesium - the only mineral absorbed in the rumen. Required for Ca, P and Vitamin D absorption, and glucose production and many enzyme reactions. High Potassium affects Mg absorption
Cannot be stored and needs to be supplied every day.
Deficiency signs can be reduced intake and performance, rapid breath, stiff gait, grass tetany, low milk production
Sodium – Regulates the osmolarity of body fluids, Ph, assists with muscle and nervous function and helps to excrete excess K.
Our Consultants EXPERTS IN RUMINANT PRODUCTIVITY
0437 243 320
0429 437 823
0457 243 319
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