Home' Smart Farmer : April 2012 Contents April 2012
TRAVELLING through the South East of
the South Australia and spending some
time on farm brings home the effects of
low rainfall on livestock production.
To add insult to injury, autumn lamb-
ing has really kicked-in, and the pressure
on the ewe to perform under these con-
ditions is just too much, to say the least.
We would normally expect lower
lamb survival, particularly as the weath-
er turns colder.
I have had quite a few requests to put
something basic in the Smart Farmer
Generally, the first thing to disappear
during dry times is forage and fodder,
the second thing to go missing is our
sense of humour!
For those with the latter intact, it's
about food. Once the food supply for
the ewe dwindles, so does lamb sur-
vival. Here are few simple tips:
Keep the ewe chewing! Hay is vital
for the lambing ewe and is a crucial
feed ingredient for sheep at all stages of
In times of dry spells, select good-
quality hay, particularly combination hay
such as oaten-vetch.
Normally, this hay has good levels of
carbohydrates and protein and if pre-
pared well, can be digested easily. This
type of hay adds to 'chewing' as well as
fill.When it comes to grain, the biggest
question is: "how much do I feed?"
The idea is to feed the amount
required to maintain body condition.
Feeding singles or multiples only
requires a bit of thought and a slight
adjustment. When feed is scarce, it is
very important to keep condition score
to 3-4. Yes, singles can sometimes drop
a bit at the waistline, but try not to get
below 2.5 -- it's much better to main-
tain condition score 3.
Grain feeding requires a little bit of
art, rather than large amounts of sci-
First of all, it is important to feed to
1 per cent of bodyweight (using
grain) is usually for maintenance, so
animals weighing 50 kilograms need
about 500 grams a head for each day
for the ewe to maintain its own require-
1.5pc of body weight, or,
750gm/head/day is a good start for
lambing ewes along with hay.
Normally we try to aim for a target of
10pc protein and between 11 and 11.5
megajoules/kg of energy, but when
times are tough and feed is short, nor-
mal grazing will not supply anywhere
Stock need to be supplementary fed
for their own survival and the next cash
crop of lambs.
Talk to your local merchandise suppli-
er regarding strategies. Most of these
companies have a specialist or a nutri-
tionist these days who can point you in
the right direction. If you can't get help,
And don't forget -- minerals are a
vital part of food vut they don't replace
Magnesium, calcium, etc are a vital
part of lambing and survival.
Well-prepared supplements are a
good investment when used appropri-
• Need to know more?
0427 186 943 or
Feed -- more art than science
with ROSS WALLER,
Livestock production consultant
By ALISTAIR LAWSON
AIN has brought relief to live-
stock vendors across the
Adelaide Hills and Fleurieu
Peninsula, with pastures receiving a
much-needed boost and providing
optimism for graziers looking to buy.
The lack of rain through late 2011
and early 2012 sent a shiver through
livestock markets, with many scal-
ing-back purchases in line with the
availability of feed.
But the rain in March is expected
to kickstart the market again.
Prostock's weekly sales at Mount
Compass are a case in point, with
good trade-weight vealers lifting 10
cents a kilogram to 15c/kg in March,
according to livestock manager Clint
"Good trade calves are in short sup-
ply at the moment, which has pushed
prices to $2.64/kg," he said.
Mr Endersby said lighter store
steers weighing between 180kg and
280kg made up to $2.35/kg -- up
10c/kg on previous sales.
"Store cattle are just starting to
make an improvement," he said.
"There is a bit more confidence
about with the rain, which has defi-
nitely helped the market."
Trade vealers rates are expected to
lift at most markets across the regions.
Elders Strathalbyn auctioneer
Darrell Sims said he expected prime
cattle to improve.
At the Strathalbyn feature cattle
sale in March, the best steers made
$775 while most of the weaner steers
sold for about $600. Heifers mainly
sold between $400 and $600.
But he expected numbers of cattle
going through the market to be low
in the next three months.
The most recent Mount Pleasant
sheep and cattle sale saw the best
lambs there make $145, while some
black baldy cows with calves at foot
Landmark Anderson and Fawcett
principal Colin Fawcett said he
expected prices to lift slightly once
the season prevails.
Markets sigh in relief
Vealer prices up
Cows, calves better-buying
Low numbers expected
Ken Purvis, Silverton Park, Delamere, pictured with Elders
Strathablyn auctioneer Darrell Sims, yarded 42 cattle at the
Strathalbyn market in March.
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