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underpin condition of top livestock
Producers should firstly recognise the difference between supplementary feeding, which provided
part of an animals needs, and substitution feeding when a higher-quality supplement was required
to meet nearly all of the animals' daily intake.
ing, which provided part of an animals needs,
and substitution feeding when a higher-quality
supplement was required to meet nearly all of
the animals' daily intake.
A good rule of thumb for supplements was for
adult livestock requiring about 1 per cent of
their body weight each day for maintenance, but
during substitution feeding they required a daily
intake of 3-4pc.
Each category of animal had different nutri-
tional requirements, with pregnant and lactating
females requiring higher intakes than dry ani-
mals. Young growing animals, such as lambs,
could require twice the protein levels of a dry
Mr Waller said a common misconception was
that lick mineral blocks were a supplement.
Their role was actually to provide minerals for
animals foraging on dry feed.
He said the first step of supplementary feeding
was having a good pasture type hay or silage.
But as paddock supplies dwindled, Mr Waller
said producers had two options: feeding a high-
quality hay of at least 30-50pc clover content,
oaten or vetch hay, or adding grain to the sup-
Those who opted to feed their own grain and
hay mix should seek a feed test of the grains they
were considering, to compare the protein,
metabolisabled energy and digestibility of each.
"People often think lupins are expensive, but
if you work them out on a dollar-per-protein
basis they are never dear," he said.
"They might be $300/t, but they have three
times the protein of barley."
Mr Waller said most of their small acreage cus-
tomers opted for a more convenient option of
either buying a total mixed ration of pellets or a
concentrate with ad lib hay to ensure their live-
stock get a balanced ration.
"For smaller producers, it is a better way to go.
You will pay a little more but if you buy a 1t
bulka bag it is generally enough and saves hav-
ing to buy a truckload of grain where some
needs to be stored until the following year," he
Quality fodder for ideal 25kg weight
By NATALIE ELIAS
TOP-quality fodder served in appro-
priate portion sizes should be the on
the menu for all lactating ewes and
Industry and Investment New
South Wales technical specialist graz-
ing systems Phil Graham, Yass, says
highly-digestible fodder in the vege-
tative state is the ideal feed for lactat-
The feed requirement of a lactating
ewe will vary depending on whether
they are single -- or twin-bearing --
but is generally two to three times
higher than that of a dry ewe.
In a perfect world, the peak feed
demand at lactation will coincide
with the peak of pasture production.
Mr Graham said, ideally, a single-
bearing lactating ewe should have
access to 1200 kilograms of dry mat-
ter a hectare and a twin-bearing ewe
While the composition of the feed
should provide a good balance of
energy and protein, he said digestibil-
ity of the feed was the critical factor.
During lactation, ewes metabolise
their body fat for milk production,
which peaks at about 30 days after
Without adequate nutrition, the
ewe will lose weight and weaning
weight of the lamb will be sub-opti-
Mr Graham said graziers should be
aiming to get their lambs as efficient-
ly as possible to 25kg, which he
believed was the ideal target weight
"At this weight, the lambs are
robust enough to handle any chal-
lenges that might come their way," he
If lambs were below 25kg at wean-
ing, Mr Graham said graziers should
take immediate action, which could
include supplementary feeding to
avoid lambs losing condition.
He said weaning paddocks should
have at least 1500-1800kgDM/ha of
While for most graziers this season
meeting this feed threshold was not
likely to be a problem, there was such
a thing as too much of a good thing.
As quantity of feed increased, qual-
ity decreased and Mr Graham said
graziers needed to have a grazing
management plan to keep feed at an
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