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Grass roots research reaching local producers

Over a hundred people attended the latest NSW Grassland Society Pasture Update at "Chesney" near Mandurama last Tuesday. Local producers are obviously keen to find out about the latest local research on pastures.

The hosts, Stuart and Gemma Green, outlined their vision for Chesney Pastoral which included triple bottom line principles of social, environmental and financial objectives. Resilience was also at the core of their business philosophy.

"Building resilience into every aspect of our grazing enterprise is a big part of what we do at Chesney Pastoral. Our pastures are predominately Phalaris and Sub-clover, but we are keen to try different species to fulfil a niche in our overall production system, particularly finishing livestock to meet market specs," said Mr Green.

The theme of resilience and persistence continued with David Harbison's presentation on "Persistent Perennials". The Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) funded national variety pasture trial of Cocksfoot, Phalaris, Perennial Ryegrass, Lucerne and Sub-clover trial conducted east of Blayney, was managed by Mr Harbison. It showed some large variations in persistence between species. However, there were a few newer perennial ryegrass species that performed quite well over the two and half years of the trial.

Mr Harbison said "the results from the trial will be available soon on the MLA website and will give producers a good indicator of variety performance in their local area." 

NSW DPI Livestock Research Officer, Dr Gordon Refshauge autopsied some dead neonatal lambs, which gave producers a great insight into the primary cause of lamb mortality.

Dr Refshauge said, "perinatal lamb mortality cost the Australian sheep industry approximately $540 million. Across the national flock, the primary cause of death is related to oxygen deprivation during birth. Nearly half of the lambs that die, do so on the day they were born.

Additionally the majority of the losses are from the minority of ewes. This is why the simple practice of wetting and drying ewes at lamb marking should be a non-negotiable management custom in every sheep breeding enterprise". 

Mr Green agreed saying "in our first cross lamb enterprise, profitability is driven by the way we manage 70% of our ewes, for only 8 weeks of the year. Managing feed availability, paddock size, mob size and ewe fat score in the multiples mob is critical to our success".

For more information on livestock production and management issues, please call Brett Littler on 02 6378 1708. For information on pastures, call Phil Cranney on 02 6363 7888.

Central Tablelands Local Land Services are committed to supporting these events that help connect local research to local farmers. 
Media enquiries - Kylie Krause 0439 608370