Looking At Landcare (24/8/2018) – Making Livestock Decisions

Forbes was fortunate to welcome Principal of RaynerAg, Mr Alastair Rayner to present a Making Livestock Decisions workshop on Wednesday.

Alastair worked as a Livestock Officer (Beef Products) with the NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) for 17 years and has had a commitment to the beef industry for 20 years. On the RaynerAg website, Alastair provides some insightful blogs on cattle management, feeding in the drought, managing risk and many other interesting subjects in that space.

The Managing Livestock Decisions workshop was the third last is a series of workshops outlaid over the Central West to challenge landholders to take a fresh look at how they are managing their stock as we move into a further challenging period in the drought.

I use the word challenge in a refreshing way. A challenge doesn’t have to be something difficult. It can be an opportunity to look at things in a fresh way.

Alastair flagged that as well as animal health, people health was important so that any decisions that are being made in challenging times, are made with a fresh, clear mind and based on sound information. When making decisions around maintaining stock or selling, having a plan and information on nutrient requirements for stock is essential. He encouraged landholders to think beyond hay. Obviously stock feed is an intricate issue and I would encourage you to seek further information regarding nutrient requirements.

Landholders were asked to look at setting trigger points to establish some boundaries for when to act and to look at what is realistic and achievable in your individual situation, considering that every business has different goals and priorities. All of these important decisions empower landholders to make informed decisions.

The workshop also assisted landholders to gauge their stock water supplies and estimate consumption requirements.

Landholders were provided with tools to plan a cash flow budget to readjust strategies based on feeding or selling for the remainder of 2018 to allow producers to re-evaluate livestock demands based on class, production status and feed options.

The Department of Primary Industries have resources available to assist landholders with decision making. In particular I would like to mention the ‘Managing Drought’ booklet. Even though we have moved into a new level of drought that many have not experienced before, the concepts from this booklet are still based around decision making. Impacts on pasture, stock, water and fodder, short and long-term financials, personal, family and business management. Copies are available at the Local Land Services Offices.

The other resource that is available is a Feed Quality Service which is a kit to allow landholders to have tests undertaken on silage, mixed feed, hay, pasture, grain and concentrates.

Results can provide information on dry matter, digestability, crude protein, fibre, metabolizable energy, fat, ash content, organic matter, pH, ammonia – nitrogen. The kit contains sample bags, instructions and report interpretation information. At this time, it is crucially important that you know the quality of the feed that you are providing, so that you are investing your hard-earned funds into a product that is providing the best possible results for your livestock.

Please remember that the Central West Local Land Services are holding weekly drought drop in sessions. They are being held in Forbes, Condobolin, Lake Cargelligo, Dubbo, Coonamble and Nyngan.

Please remember that if you are requiring information regarding subsidies, from the State or Federal Government or if you are requiring immediate assistance, links to these services are available via our website at centralwestlachlanlandcare.org, facebook, twitter or please feel free to contact our office on 02 6862 4914 and we will be happy to provide further information.

 Until next week, happy Landcaring!