Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) has formed a new partnership with the NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) and the CSIRO to benefit livestock producers in northern NSW and southern Queensland.
The Livestock Productivity Partnership (LPP) aims to provide knowledge and tools to contribute to a national increase in productivity gains from the current rate of one per cent to 2.5pc.
The initial key focus for the LPP is livestock-based farming systems across the medium-high rainfall areas of southern, central and northern NSW, and southern and central Queensland where pasture improvement and tactical forage crops are economically viable management options to improve productivity.
Over the next five years to 2022, the LPP will research, develop and commercially validate options including improving year-round feed supply to better meet animal requirements; improving nutrient utilisation (efficiency) by ruminants to enhance growth, maternal efficiency and better meet market specifications; developing information that allows more accurate formulation of supplements and rations to enable more efficient growth and higher achievement of market specifications for ruminants; and, validating recommendations of regional combinations of new feedbase and livestock management options that can increase whole farm profitability compared with current regional best practice.
MLA program manager for sustainable feedbase resources, Cameron Allan said MLA has invested and continues to invest in temperate and tropical pasture species development, evaluation and management.
“Changing seasonal conditions like drier, wetter, and hotter production climates bring about issues and opportunities,” he said.
“We are now looking into tropical species in temperate Australia, and companion species to provide continuity of supply and increase pasture quality and protect the soil.
“It’s important to look into new weeds and plants moving into new areas, and a changing grazing approach, i.e. how long or hard to graze a paddock to best utilise the forage and ensure long term pasture stability.
“There are constantly changes in management, new technique, skills, approaches, benchmarks and rules of thumb; understanding and managing cost of production is critical.
Speaking at the Moree Pasture Update on February 16, Mr Allan said research had identified key needs and steps for success in areas like pasture establishment.
“Weed control leading up to sowing is critical to ensure seedlings establish,” he said.
“The message from research and producer experience on the day was do not cut corners as short term savings undermine longer term costs and productivity.”