Home' Smart Farmer : May 2012 Contents May 2012
By LIZ COTTON
URING extended dry periods or in
seasons where feed quality is low or
lacking in optimum nutritional value,
it may be necessary to consider supplementary
Determining what to feed will depend on
the age and condition of stock.
SBScibus senior consultant Vicky
MacDonald says that being herbivores, it is
very important for horses, sheep and cattle to
have a fibre-rich diet.
"Meadow hay is the most suitable option as
it best 'recreates' the green grass that herbivore
animals require in their diet," she said.
"It is also the best value for money but, at
times, good-quality meadow hay can be hard
to come by.
"Cereal hay can be an option -- or may be the
only option -- but it is low in protein so sup-
plementary feeding with a protein source can
increase the crude protein required in the ani-
Ms MacDonald says most animals need
between 12 per cent and 16pc crude protein
in their diet but this will depend on whether
the goal is to only maintain condition, fatten
livestock or grow muscle mass in younger ani-
"About 8pc crude protein is required to
maintain live-weight, 12pc to fatten livestock
and 16pc to grow livestock," she said.
"Young animals such as calves require
between 18 and 20pc crude protein in their
diets to grow bones and muscles."
Ms MacDonald said lupins, canola meal,
soya meal and copra meal were good sources
of protein. They could be mixed with molasses
or oil to increase palatability and were safe to
introduce to an animal's diet.
She advised exercising caution when intro-
ducing grains into the diet. A small, slow addi-
tion was considered the best way to avoid
grain poisoning or adverse impact on stock
"Horses are particularly sensitive to starchy
cereal grains in their diet, as are cattle" she
"Take extra care as barley, triticale and wheat
all have high levels of starch which can kill all
the good fibre-digesting bacteria if introduced
"This can render the animal very sick and
they will have to be put on a meadow hay-
based diet to get the good bacteria working
effectively again," she said.
Take stock of other feed plans
A fibre-rich diet is crucial for cattle.
Meadow hay most suitable
Cereal hay low in protein
Exercise caution with grain option
A warm and dry autumn across most parts of
South Australia has put extra pressure on live-
stock and farmers.
During such times, it is vital to regularly mon-
itor pasture availability and livestock condition
in order to make informed decisions on supple-
Should pasture and livestock condition drop
during prolonged dry spells, supplementary
feeding can help meet nutritional needs.
Understanding seasonal pasture growth
potential and short, mid and long-term rainfall
outlook will be a useful guide for timely action
but it is important to know the answer to the
• Is there enough water to carry animals
through until winter?
• Are resources -- including money, time and
equipment -- available to feed livestock daily
until adequate pasture is available?
• How much will it cost to feed livestock?
• What will it cost to replace livestock at the
end of the dry period if the decision is made to
Recognising limited feed availability well
before animals start to show physical signs
brought about by a lack of feed is important.
In addition, paddock feed alone can become
nutritionally inadequate after a long dry spell
such as in the summer-autumn period.
When to start
It is important to begin supplementary feed-
ing when there is still enough pasture in the
paddock as low levels can lead to stock grazing
non-preferred plants and weeds. This will also
ensure livestock do not lose too much condi-
Introduce grain rations gradually so animals
don't get grain poisoning (acidosis). Before
grain-feeding, contact your local veterinarian or
livestock officer to get advice on a safe grain-
Seek professional advice before feeding your
livestock fodder made from crop byproducts or
plant-waste that may have been exposed to
It could cost $550 or more to feed a cow and
calf for six months -- not including time and
travel. It could cost two or three times more if
buying grain by the bag rather than by the
Calculate costs early on to assist with the
decision making process or for make alternative
arrangements, preferably early.
-- LIZ COTTON
Close gate on weed seed movement
WHEN fodder or new stock are brought onto a
property, watch out for weeds.
Supplementary feeding is critical, especially
during drought conditions, but the risk of
introducing new weeds is greater because of
the large amounts of fodder moving through-
out South Australia.
Hay, silage and grain can all contain parts of
weeds or seeds that can thrive on your land.
Stock can carry viable seed in their gut for up
to 14 days or have them in their hides and feet.
Everyone has a duty of care and responsibil-
ity to assist with the process of halting the
spread of weeds into and across SA, and inter-
state. The following strategies can help.
• Always try to buy stock and fodder from a
local and reliable source.
• Ask if the property where the stock or fod-
der originated is free of noxious weeds such as
silverleaf nightshade, salvation jane and
• Check if you can see the paddock where
the hay has been cut.
• Feeding in one paddock can lead to over-
grazing and soil erosion but limit feeding to a
few locations to control weeds more easily.
• Consider how the future management of
your property might impact new weed germi-
nation and growth.
• Place all new stock into a quarantine pad-
dock for 14 days. This will allow time for weed
seeds to be passed through the intestinal sys-
tem and restrict contamination to one small
• Regularly check hay feeding areas for
• Take a sample of the plant, sealed in a plas-
tic bag, to your local NRM Board office for
identification and control options.
• Find out what is already on your property
so you can identify new growth.
• When transporting fodder, avoid spread of
weeds onto road reserves and adjacent land.
• Secure fodder loads during transit.
• After delivering fodder, clean-out vehicles
in an area where weed seeds cannot disperse
and future weed germinations can be easily
detected and treated.
• Monitor local roadsides and farm tracks
for at least 12 months after delivery.
• It is an offence to move noxious weed
seeds in fodder or on machinery beyond a
• Under the Natural Resources Management
Act (2004), a person can be prosecuted for
transporting anything contaminated with cer-
tain declared noxious weeds.
• If you intend to engage contractors,
emphasise the need to arrive and depart your
property free of weed seed, soil and vegetable
matter on machinery, vehicles and on contrac-
• Need to know more?
www.amlrnrm.sa.gov.au, Eastwood 08 8273
9100, Gawler 08 8523 7700, Lobethal 08 8389
5900, Willunga: 08 8550 3400
Hay, silage, grain on radar
Quarantine new stock for 14 days
Be aware of legalities
• Ration Formulation
• All Weather Formula Stock Licks
• Feed Ingredients & Raw Materials
• Custom Blended Supplements & Premixes
• Feedlot Concentrates For Cattle, Sheep & Lambs
• High Magnesium Supplements Magforce & Tetmag
MAXIMISE THE POTENTIAL OF YOUR VALUABLE
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Ross Waller 0427 186 943
Paul Zimmermann 0414 744 050
• Regional Sales: Rachel Chirgwin 0428 600 265
Victor Harbor Road, Mt Compass 5210
Ph: (08) 8556 8332 • Fax (08) 8556 8269
• Email: firstname.lastname@example.org • Web: www.compassfeeds.com.au
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