Set yourself up for a win – a northern perspective

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How is the year ahead looking for you?  Now is the time of year for northern graziers to check in on your feed budgets.

There are three questions to consider. 

  1. How much feed do you have available in the paddocks? For most readers of this in northern Australia. You aren’t going to grow any significant bulk in the coming months.  Take a moment to go for a ride and redo your feed budget.
  2. How much feed will you eat each month based on your current stock numbers (and timing of calving/lambing with breeders)?
  3. How long do you need the feed to last? What is your green date, the date by which you’ve got a 70% chance of green feed?  Important note: nobody can estimate when it will rain.  It is relatively easy to estimate the feed available and how much your stock will eat.  Knowing when your growing season is going to start again involves much more guesswork.

If you’ve got grass you’ve got choices.  My suggestion – plan for your feed to last beyond your green date.  This way, if it forgets to rain for a while after your green date, you will be okay.  Your stock will be okay, you will be less stressed and your country will be ready to absorb rain when it comes.

If you aren’t confident with feed budgeting, gross margins or estimating your green date, maybe it is timely to develop these skills?  I am running a grazing workshop in Rockhampton in September looking at these topics plus more.

For those with trade/dry animals, you have much more flexibility around adjusting numbers.  You can buy and sell nearly any time of year. 

For those with breeders, particularly cattle, you are approaching an important decision point as you get closer to calving.  There is nothing fun about running out of feed with baby calves at foot!  So revisiting your feed budget/grazing plan now is important whilst most of you have time to make proactive changes.

If you are short of feed, do your gross margins and take advantage of these record prices to set yourself up for a win.

If you have a surplus of feed, do some gross margins on options available.

If you’ve got stocking rate matched to carrying capacity, enjoy the rest of the year with confidence you’ve done all you can to set yourself up for a win (& well done!).

David McLean
Chief of Delivery

David McLean

This article was originally published in the Queensland Country Life newspaper on the 4th August 2021.