Webinar explores how dual purpose crops can ‘beef-up’ winter feed options

27 APRIL 2020

Webinar explores how dual purpose crops can ‘beef-up’ winter feed options

Dr Jeff McCormick from the Graham Centre for Agricultural Innovation in Wagga Wagga said the best potential for winter grazing might be with young beef cattle.

  • Charles Sturt University is teaming up with the Future Farmers Network and Rural Biz to deliver a free webinar on Thursday 30 April
  • Senior lecuturer in agronomy Dr Jeff McCormick will outline the opportunity for grazing cattle on dual-purpose crops
  • Grazing wheat and canola crops can provide high quality forage for yearling cattle in southern Australia

If you’re sowing wheat and canola, the best winter grazing potential might lie with young beef cattle, according to Dr Jeff McCormick from the Graham Centre for Agricultural Innovation.

Dr McCormick (pictured) will give an insight into grazing dual-purpose crops in a free webinar hosted by the Future Farmers Network (FFN), Charles Sturt University and Rural Biz from 6pm on Thursday 30 April. 

Dr McCormick said the introduction of dual-purpose crops has transformed mixed farming systems in southern Australia, providing the opportunity to fill a gap in pasture production over winter.

“Dual-purpose crops are usually available for grazing during June and July,” Dr McCormick said.

“Commonly during winter, the sheep on farm tend to be either pregnant ewes or ewes with very young lambs, so there is a limited supply of growing sheep to take advantage of the high quality forage provided by dual-purpose crops.

“In comparison, there are often large numbers of yearling cattle in southern Australia that are hand fed over the winter achieving very little liveweight gain.

“The availability of large amounts of high quality forage through dual-purpose wheat and canola crops could transform a period of feed deficit for beef systems into a period of production.”

In the webinar, Dr McCormick will outline his research through the Graham Centre, investigating how to make the most of beef grazing dual-purpose crops.

“Our initial studies have shown cattle respond positively to mineral supplementation on wheat and can adjust quickly and safely to grazing dual-purpose canola,” Dr McCormick said.

“Average daily weight gains exceeded 1.75 kilograms per head per day, and could reach up to 2.5 kilograms per head per day.”

FFN is a national non-for-profit that focuses on young people in agriculture and partners with industry to host monthly webinars, such as this, to their network across the country. 

FFN Executive Officer Jamie-Lee Oldfield said it’s an opportunity for producers to tap into the latest research opening up opportunities for the industry to continue to increase productivity, sustainability and profitability.

"Getting the latest research, information and ideas out to young people in agriculture is crucial for their success and fulfilment in the industry, and web-based learning has proven a great way to reach our wide-spread community - especially in current times where face-to-face events have been stalled,” she said.

"The information being presented this week by Dr Jeff McCormick is perfectly timed for those producers keen to capitalise on the good autumn start many regions have experienced, by getting the most out of grazing cattle on dual-purpose crops.”

Register for the free webinar online at https://bit.ly/34TXB0U.

Media Note:

Dr Jeff McCormick is based in Wagga Wagga. To arrange interviews, contact Graham Centre communications officer Emily Malone 0439 552 385 or email: emalone@csu.edu.au

The Graham Centre is a research alliance between Charles Sturt University (Charles Sturt) and the NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI).

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All Local News Agricultural Science Charles Sturt University Graham Centre