Show Notes

With greater unpredictability in our weather patterns, managing pastures is an ever-evolving challenge for farmers. This week on the podcast we hope to help with some handy advice from consultant, Darren Gordon.

This week we cover:

  • The importance of pasture and feed-quality testing
  • The genetics of fat and feed efficiency 
  • Maximising profit from pasture

Darren emphasises the importance of testing your pastures and feed, including the neutral detergent fibre (NDF). “Just test it, otherwise it's calculated guesswork,” he says. “Test, then test again. And the NDF, especially in your hays, can change intake, especially for younger sheep.” 

Knowing the NDF of your feed is vital, as it directly correlates with the digestibility and nutritional value of the feed. Too much NDF can impede digestibility. This leads to reduced feed intake, meaning no matter how good it is, your stock cannot consume enough of it to get the nutrients they need.

Once you know where your feed is at you can allocate it to the most appropriate stock class, where it will make the greatest impact. Darren runs us through different feed type examples and which stock class would benefit most. For example, feeding your lighter twin-bearing ewes in late pregnancy yields some of the greatest returns.

Darren also discusses containment feeding and the benefits to your stock as well as your pastures and soils. If you expect that you may need to contain stock, he emphasises the importance of planning ahead, rather than deciding to do it once your paddocks are already “ruined”.

“Start thinking about it now, make some preparations, look at your water quality, look at your water quantity and what you're gonna need to do if you do have to go into containment,” he explains. “Once it gets under a thousand [FOO], you're only getting two and a half to three ME out of the paddock,” meaning you get immediate returns from containment feeding.

Darren then turns the tables and asks Ferg a few questions about how genetics can also help with managing feed deficits on-farm. You’ll have to tune in for that answer! 

Head Shepherd is brought to you by neXtgen Agri International Limited, we help livestock farmers get the most out of the genetics they farm with. Get in touch with us if you would like to hear more about how we can help you do what you do best -

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