Stanley Vale Merino Stud - News & Views

Weekly cattle, sheep and goat market wrap

New record for the National Feeder Steer Indicator

The National Feeder Steer Indicator broke a new record again this week, hitting 523¢/kg liveweight (lwt) on Tuesday. Since the middle of June, the Indicator has appreciated 81¢, or 15%, and from the beginning of this month, it lifted 18¢/kg lwt, or 3%, in 10 sale days.

Increased supply has done little to dampen demand, with an extra 1,451 head yarded week-on-week. Big lifts from Tamworth and Wagga Wagga have driven supply upwards – Wagga rose by 685 head and Tamworth by 585 head week-on-week to account for over 27% of the total feeder steer yarding. With these saleyards being two of the top three most expensive sales, it’s evident that key cattle regions for feeder cattle throughout NSW are confident of the season ahead.

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Soil group stirs a passion

Life has changed for Debbie and Steve Buckland ever since they took part in a Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA) funded Healthy Soils Group.

Gone are the days of sitting in front of the television in the evening to watch a movie!

The pair have become so passionate about sourcing information on soils management that they now spend their evenings scrolling through YouTube videos learning ways to improve the soil health of their 143ha farm at Winkleigh in the West Tamar region of Tasmania.

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Legume pasture systems for improving sheep production

Many producers throughout WA have introduced serradella and biserulla and more recently vetch into their crop rotations. The benefits of these pastures to the cropping phase are well documented, but there is a lack of data available on their potential to improve carrying capacity, lamb growth rates or ewe reproductive performance. This project aims to quantify via participatory research the performance of lambs and ewes grazing these pastures to enable their use to be optimised in mixed farming systems. Demonstration sites will be established on up to 20 farms over 2-years to investigate the following:

Lamb growth rates in late spring/early summer when grazing annual pasture legumes versus other pastures or stubbles Ewe reproductive rates from grazing annual pasture legumes versus other pastures or stubbles prior to and or during joining in early summer

Lamb growth rates

At each farm, at least 100 lambs will be split post weaning and allocated to graze serradella, biserulla or vetch versus crop stubbles or alternative pastures. The bigger the mobs the better but the minimum requirement is 50 lambs per mob and the animals need to graze for a minimum of one month. Feed on offer (kg DM/ha), nutritive value of the feed (energy and protein content) and liveweight will be measured at the start of grazing and then monthly until the end of grazing.  All measurements will be completed by project staff from Murdoch University.

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Ryegrass triple treat

Introducing annual ryegrasses has delivered a triple win for central Victorian sheep producer Lachie Green, by filling the winter feed gap, preserving perennial pastures and supporting quicker lamb turn‑off.

When Lachie took over ‘Mokepilly South’ at Lake Fyans in 2012, he faced the challenge of growing sufficient dry matter over winter in paddocks which had been overgrazed and under-fertilised.

Lachie hosted an MLA Producer Demonstration Site (PDS) to investigate high-production annual forages in perennial systems.

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Future-proof your business by being lender ready

The lending environment has changed substantially, with a raft of new considerations for producers who are going for a loan, including how to prepare their application and what help they can get.

Many business owners are looking for opportunities to expand, diversify and adapt their enterprise, but are held back when it comes to finance.

Gordon Stone, Director of the Agri Business Development Institute (ABDI), said many business owners were unaware of how the changes have affected the lending process.

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Red meat, green facts - embracing the emissions challenge

By Jason Strong, Managing Director, Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA)

While the decade old national policy debate around emissions reduction targets flared again last week, Australia’s red meat producers and businesses are continuing to demonstrate their commitment to maintaining and improving the environment.

The news may come as a surprise to some.  Unfortunately, we have grown a little too accustomed to seeing negative headlines around red meat’s impact on our environment, and not enough coverage of the positive, proactive steps our forward thinking industry is taking.

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Leucaena lifts its weight

Could leucaena deliver a four-fold increase in production benefits by increasing weight gain and carrying capacity?

An MLA-supported weight gain trial for steers grazing the forage legume, Redlands leucaena, has set out to answer this question and early results are positive.

The trial is being hosted by Redlands leucaena growers and seed producers, Bruce and Lucinda Mayne, at their property ‘Fairview’ in central Queensland.

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Multi breed evaluations on the way

A new $7.3 million research project – the Southern Multi Breed Project – was launched yesterday to ultimately enable beef producers to directly compare bulls of different breeds for a range of traits.

MLA General Manager Research, Development and Adoption, Michael Crowley, was at the launch in Armidale and explains what the Southern Multi Breed Project means for red meat producers and why MLA is supporting the project.

Q: What does the project involve?

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Lamb finishing: is it worth it?

High-performance forage crop and perennial pasture systems were put to the test in NSW’s Monaro region in an MLA-funded Producer Demonstration Site (PDS) to see how finishing lambs stacked up compared to the traditional store lamb system.

The result was a tick for farm profitability, with average net profits from establishing and finishing lambs on the pasture/crops ranging from $305/ha to $1,492/ha over the two years of the PDS, despite poor seasonal conditions in the second year.

In comparison, the region’s traditional system of turning lambs off as stores by the end of December, at average sale weight of 29kg had an average total enterprise gross margin of $161/ha.

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Taking feedbase management back to basics

Victorian sheep producers Craig and Jayne Drum could carry out feed budgeting in their sleep, but it hasn’t stopped them from looking for new information to drive their feedbase productivity.

Jayne was a technical officer for trials in the MLA‑supported EverGraze project for two years and Craig is an agronomist, but they reckon it’s one thing to teach and another to do.

“Jayne’s probably taken a thousand pasture measurements through her work,” Craig said.

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