Ground Cover Supplement : GC Supplement - Mixed farming
5 MIXED FARMING GROUND COVER FARM MANAGEMENT SUPPORT Understanding carrying capacity and actual available feed for the season helps identify whether feed is adequate or supplementation is required. Using winter-grazed hectares (WGha) to calculate carrying capacity excludes land under crop that will not be grazed, providing a more realistic figure. Dry sheep equivalent to winter grazed hectares (DSE/WGha) values varied significantly across group member properties and growing- season rainfall zones (Figure 1). In low growing-season rainfall zones (200 millimetres) stocking rates varied from 1.35 DSE/ WGha to 4.44 DSE/WGha, but increased to 5.46 and up to 12.1 DSE/WGha in the 350mm rainfall zone. The DSE rating for different classes of stock is dependent on body weight and stage of pregnancy or lactation. Livestock gaining weight or lactating will need to consume more feed per kilogram of body weight than those just maintaining body weight. Benchmarking stocking rates has highlighted significant differences across the area with similar rainfall. The group can now identify reasons for the differences and identify management strategies and practices to improve their own production systems. There are opportunities to strengthen the sheep enterprises through assessing land capability, stocking rates, pasture utilisation and supplementary feed reserves. DSE/WGha values varied significantly across the group's properties and growing season rainfall. □ GRDC Research Code UA00117 More information: Naomi Scholz, G&G2 coordinator Eyre Peninsula, 08 8680 6233, firstname.lastname@example.org Grain & Graze 2 projects on FARM MANAGEMENT SUPPORT Region Project title Eyre Peninsula Successful mixed farming -- answering the big questions East SA Improving business management on mixed farms East SA Improving advisory support to mixed farmers Northern Network development Northern Quantifying the triple bottom line of your farming system Northern Resilient mixed-farming businesses Northern Victoria Examining the risks and benefits of livestock in a cropping system Northern Victoria Analysing the role of livestock in whole-farm risk management Northern Victoria Embedding adaptive management into farmer organisations Southern NSW Exploring different ways to operate a mixed-farming business Southern NSW Using systems experiments to answer questions about mixed farming Southern Victoria Analysing 'reward for risk' in different mixed-farming systems Western Australia Documenting the benefits and pitfalls of mixed-farming practices Western Australia Discussing the benefits and pitfalls of mixed-farming practices Western Australia Incorporating risk and uncertainty into farming advice For regional Grain & Graze 2 (G&G2) contacts see the back cover Table 1 Examples of dry sheep equivalents (DSE) for mature sheep and yearling cattle of specific weight Mature sheep 40kg 50kg Dry ewes, wethers (store) 0.9 1.1 gaining 50g/day 1.2 1.4 gaining 100g/day 1.5 1.7 Pregnant ewes last 6 weeks bearing singles 1.4 1.6 Pregnant ewes last 6 weeks bearing twins 1.8 2.0 Ewes with single lamb at foot 2.4 3.1 Ewes with twin lambs at foot 2.8 3.3 Yearling 300kg 350kg gaining 0.25kg/day 7 8 gaining 0.75kg/day 10 11 ACROSS THE EYRE PENINSULA, AUTUMN AND WINTER ARE WHEN FEED IS MOST LIMITED. Figure 1 Variation in dry sheep equivalent to winter grazed hectares (DSE/WGha) by growing season rainfall. Large differences in productivity were highlighted by the benchmarking process Growing season rainfall (mm) 0 5 10 15 20 400 350 300 250 200 150 DSE/WGha WHAT IS DSE?* Dry sheep equivalent (DSE) is a unit used to compare the feed requirements of different classes of stock or to assess the carrying capacity and potential productivity of a given area. While DSE is widely accepted across Australia, there is some variation in the weight of a dry sheep used in defining a DSE. In Table 1 the figures are based on a two-year-old, 45kg Merino sheep (wether or non-lactating, non-pregnant ewe) to maintain its weight and equalling one DSE. * Based on information in the Victorian Department of Agriculture Note AG0590 Dry Sheep Equivalents for comparing different classes of livestock by Colin McLaren, 1997.
GC Supplement - Soil biology initiative
GC Supplement - Crop protection