Getting Pastures Back Into Shape

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					Tassie Dairy News
        Produced for the Tasmanian Dairy Industry by the TIAR Dairy Centre, University of Tasmania
                              Funded by Dairy Australia, DairyTas and TIAR
                                                                                                                 ISSUE 10
                                                                                                            November 2009


Getting Pastures Back Into Shape
Rob La Grange TIAR, Dairy Centre
Tasmania’s very wet winter and early spring has seen most
dairy farms suffering various degrees of pasture pugging
damage that has not only affected production in the short-
term but could continue to impact on production in the
coming months if not dealt with now!
Many farmers have been caught out by the persistent and
heavy rainfall events this season to-date. Damage has been
done to the grazing platform and farmers need to implement
a recovery strategy as soon as possible to make the most of
the remainder of the season.
To help farmers to this end, in mid October, TIAR facilitated
three Dairy Australia funded “Taking the Season On” –                         Cows doing it tough in a pugged paddoock
Recovery Roadshow on-farm presentations by three experts
in their fields from DPI Victoria’s Dairy Extension Centre.
The days were attended by about 65 dairy farmers as well
as some industry service providers. Among relevant issues,
the sessions held at Edith Creek, Moriarty and Legerwood,
tackled the challenge of recovering from pasture damage.
This article highlights the key messages given by one of the
guest speakers, Frank Mickan, to worried dairy farmers.

                                                                         Frank Mickan talking at the Taking The Season On
                                                                                        meeting at Moriarty

                                                                  Assess feed requirements over the next 2–12 months
                                                                  Factor in the impact of reduced growth, areas out for
                                                                  renovation and cropping areas. Calculate what silage and
                                                                  hay will be made and the price and availability and type of
                                                                  supplements needed.

                                                                  Implement a recovery strategy
                                                                  Graze pastures according to leaf-stage to maximise growth.
                                                                  Stick to 2.5 – 3 leaf-stage where possible. Take residuals
                                                                  to 4-6 cm and use supplements where daily pasture intakes
Assess the situation                                              are less than required.
How bad is the pugging? Is damage localised to areas in
paddocks or are entire paddocks affected? Is the actual           Pastures that are only slightly damaged could be left alone
pugging light, medium, severe or very severe?                     to naturally regenerate and be oversown in early autumn
                                                                  where needed. Medium pugged pastures that are rolled
Frank advised using what he calls a ‘puggology’ chart. It is      or harrowed where soil conditions suit should have some
important to avoid a quick emotionally driven assessment.         seed broadcast as well. Broadcasting seed after harrowing
Make a definitive assessment by getting out there and             followed with a light roll will thicken the sward. Rolling and
looking at a 30 cm2 representative area. Make a judgement         harrowing alone has been shown to be of no benefit in
on how much of the 30 cm2 is damaged, how deep the
pugging is and how much of the paddock is affected. The                                                         Continued on p. 2
puggology chart will then allow you to categorise the damage
from VL = very light to VS = very severe.
                                                Monitored Farms
                                                Three farms are monitored and information is provided for the benefit of readers. For
                                                further information please contact a TIAR Dairy Centre adviser on 6430 5295

                                                                              TDDF                              TIAR
                                                                            Woolnorth                           Elliott
      Date                                                                  20/10/09                          19/10/09
      Total farm milking area            ha                                    371                               108
        Irrigated area                                             (45ha sprayed out for fodder crops)
      Cows in milk                       number                                  877                             297
      Cow condition                      score                                  4.35                              4.1
      Daily production                   kg MS/cow                               1.18                             1.3
                                         kg MS/ha                               2.79                              3.7
      Intake                             kg DM/cow/day
        Pasture                                                                   16                             10.4
        Hay/Silage                                                                 0                               0
        Concentrates                                                               0                               5
        TOTAL                                                                     16                             15.4

      Nitrogen                           kg N/ha                                  37                              60
      Pasture growth rate                kg DM/ha/day                             51                              58
      Average pasture cover              kg DM/ha                               1901                             2010
      Target pasture cover               kg DM/ha                               2020                             2100
      Rotation length                    days                                     25                              30
      Pre grazing cover                  kg DM/ha                               2550                             2490
      Post grazing residual              kg DM/ha                               1500                             1632

    Continued from p. 1

    restoring pasture density. Direct drilling with a harrow is          Managing In Wet Conditions
    another option. More intense renovation using roterra and
    harrowing or rolling after seeding or using a set of discs           Dairy Australia have
    before roterra are other options. Consider the cost of these         put together a range
    as a simple broadcast approach with harrows or rolling is            of information sheets
    cheaper and effective.                                               to help dairy farmers
    Severe and very severely pugged pastures will usually                manage their farm
    require full renovation. This could be a spring regrassing           during and following
    program to get pasture feed back into the system by                  wet conditions. These
    summer. Establishing a summer crop will potentially give             include:
    a good source of feed for summer followed by regrassing
                                                                         • Managing animal welfare in wet conditions
    in autumn. The requirement for feed and the availability
    of irrigation and the ability to use effluent will influence         • Managing animal health in wet conditions
    these decisions.                                                     • Feeding in wet conditions
    Prepare for next winter                                              • Milking in wet conditions
    Think seriously about implementing a strategy that will              • Managing lameness in wet conditions
    see you avoiding a repeat of this season. Altering grazing
                                                                         • Planning for recovery from wet conditions
    management, stand-off areas and feed pads are some of
    the options to consider.                                               (Tasmania).

    TIAR acknowledges the contribution by Frank Mickan                   The information sheets can be viewed and
    and the Victoria DPI’s Dairy Extension Centre for this               downloaded at
    article. Full copies of Frank’s presentation can be                  Managing-in-wet-conditions.
    obtained by contacting TIAR on 6430 5295.

Farmers Together Moving Forward
Rob La Grange and Guy Robertson, TIAR Dairy Centre

Tasmanian dairy farmers are having a season they’d              might lessen the extent of the damage, the downside
rather forget. Two factors have conspired to making this        is firstly to create a feed ‘hole’ that is expensive to fill.
season one of the most difficult that farmers have had          Secondly, lower average farm covers result in a reduced
to face. The disappointing milk price as well as a very         growth response across the farm. Thirdly, large amounts
wet winter and early spring have driven many farmers            of potential pasture growth are lost because paddocks
to discouragement and even to despair. Five “Taking             are grazed at the 1-2 leaf-stage. However, this is, of
The Season On” on-farm sessions attended by over                course, now hindsight and farmers need to recover from
100 dairy farmers and 35 service provider and support           their situation as quickly as possible to get their grazing
organisation personnel were held across the State in late       platforms back into a highly productive state (see pugging
September and early October by TIAR to help give farmers        article) and to be better prepared to deal with future wet
an opportunity to get together and receive support and          seasons should these arise.
encouragement to keep on moving forward to get through
                                                                The two main strategies that farmers are using to deal with
the season.
                                                                the low milk price are cutting back and careful budgeting
The milk price on offer will push many businesses into          of purchased feed and reducing or targeting fertiliser. The
negative EBIT (earnings before interest and tax) territory      use of cheaper grains such as barley instead of expensive
for the season unless there are reasonable step ups             grain mixes can cut costs. The use of barley instead
to come. The wet season to-date has led to several              of wheat is a considered an appropriate alternative as
unwanted consequences that have taxed even the most             recent research by TIAR has shown that some barleys
resilient of farmers. These include:                            are comparative in feed quality to wheat when tested.
                                                                However, before purchasing barley, you will need to have it
• Lower current milk production per cow and per hectare
                                                                feed tested to ensure that it is of high quality.
• Cows in a lighter condition than desired with possible
    poor reproductive performance                               Soil testing and targeting fertiliser use this season can also
                                                                reduce expenses. If soil tests indicate that phosphorus
• Pugged pastures
                                                                (P) and potassium levels are at optimum level or above,
• Pasture growth rates that haven’t picked up as soon or        just using urea is a viable option. If P levels are lower than
    as much as possible                                         the optimum range of between 15-20 Olsen P using DAP,
• A ‘break-even’ later than expected                            which has significantly reduced in price, can give you the
• Poor utilisation of hay and silage                            advantage of the nitrogen which comes virtually at no cost.
• Not being able to get fertiliser, particularly urea on to     We encourage all farmers to seek assistance where
    address the feed gap                                        needed and to contact the relevant organisations that
• Increased incidences and severity of mastitis and             can help you cope with the challenges you are facing.
    lameness.                                                   Remember you are not alone and there is a future going
Whilst poorer physical and financial performance is
obvious, what is more insidious and threatening to the
farm business is the mental state of farmers. Dairy
farmers have amazing resilience and an ability to keep on
going, but everyone has limits and when these are reached
                                                                  Be Part of a Dairy Smart Group
                                                                  Participation in a Dairy Smart group provides
it can be difficult to face the day. Getting farmers together
                                                                  you with the opportunity to discuss management
helps with discouragement because the adage is true that
                                                                  issues as they happen through the season.
‘a problem shared is a problem halved’. Knowing that
others are facing the same issues and yet have a plan to          Participation in a group will give you options for
keep going is, in and of itself, encouraging and it was good      how to improve your dairy business. Each meeting
to see the level of interaction over lunch at the farmer          is based on both the issues relating to the host
meetings, during discussions and after the meetings were          farm’s management system as well as issues
formally over.                                                    relevant to the time of the season.

What can be done?                                                 If you are interested in participating in a Dairy
The meetings also addressed some of the key challenges            Smart Group contact Guy Robertson, TIAR Dairy
facing farmers. Re-seeding pugged pastures, earmarking            Centre on 6430 5990 or 0400 668 904.
badly damaged paddocks for renovation/summer crop
and using cheaper grains to fill feed deficits were some of
the topics discussed. In addition, farmers were urged to          Minimum Wage Increases in Tasmania
monitor the mating season and to ensure a rising plane
of nutrition, effective heat detection and adequate bull          From 1 August 2009, the award wage rates
power.                                                            increased by $12 per week and the State
                                                                  minimum wage rate is now $558.10. To receive
Many farmers who did not have a stand-off area or who
were unwilling to sacrifice a couple of paddocks fell into
                                                                  pay scale summary updates by email subscribe
the temptation of opening up the farm and effectively             on the new Fair Work website http://pssupdates.
speeding up the round. Whilst a lighter stocking pressure

    Supermarket Milk Prices
    Mark Fergusson, TIAR Dairy Centre

    The low milk price received by farmers has had plenty of press coverage lately. Retail milk prices have had less publicity.
    So, what has happened to supermarket milk prices?
    In February 2009, the 11 cents per litre Dairy Adjustment levy was abolished. The expectation was that retail milk prices
    would fall by a similar amount to the 11 cent levy. In the six months between December 2008 and June 2009, retail milk
    prices across Australian capital cities declined on average by 9 cents per litre. In Tasmania, retail milk prices fell by 11
    cents per litre. The fall in retail milk prices between Dec 2008 and June 2009 was due to a combination of the removal
    of the Dairy Adjustment levy reduction and any the fall in the price milk processors were paying farmers for milk.
    Dairy farmers advise that suppliers of the milk used by National Foods for retail sales had annual contracts with
    Tasmanian suppliers at 49 c/L that ran from July 2008 to June 2009. Hence, it is likely that there was no change in the
    price Tasmanian milk processors paid for milk used for retail sales between December 2008 and June 2009.
    The ABS retail milk price data shows that reductions to milk processors’ costs (through removal of the Dairy Adjustment
    levy) did get passed on in full to consumers in Hobart. As Hobart consumers received the full benefit of the levy
    reduction it seems that there is a reasonable degree of competition among both milk processors and milk retailers in
    Table: Retail milk prices for 2 litre bottles, capital cities, cents

              Date                Sydney          Melbourne         Brisbane        Adelaide        Perth         Hobart        Average
            Jun-07                  330              325               313            312           313            329
            Sep-07                  344              334               319            320           325            326
            Dec-07                  368              352               333            340           327            346
            Mar-08                  372              359               340            355           346            370
            Jun-08                  366              360               322            363           357            384
            Sep-08                  357              367               331            370           349            391
            Dec-08                  361              369               334            369           356            392
            Mar-09                  352              368               329            369           366            382
            Jun-09                  341              361               318            353           322            370
       Jun-09 compared             --10c              -4c              --8c           --8c          --17c          -11c           -10c
      to Dec-08, cents/L

       Time Is Money                                                           When we don’t prioritise tasks by their importance, they
                                                                               tend to arrange themselves by their urgency. The urgent
       Ian Hubble, TIAR Dairy Centre                                           then becomes the driver of what we do. And the urgent
                                                                               tasks may have not become urgent or turn into crises,
       We all have a “million things” to take care of every day.               often occurring at the most inconvenient times, if we had
       But, you and I are only one person and there are only 24                worked on them as important tasks much earlier. On the
       hours in a day. Do you sometimes wonder how to find                     other hand, sometimes things can just seem urgent and
       the time to do the things that you know you should or                   take our attention, but in reality they are not. Time spent
       could be doing?                                                         unproductively is time wasted.
       Italian economist and sociologist, Vilfredo Pareto (1848-               Time management is really about control over what we
       1923), discovered the 80:20 rule or ratio; otherwise                    do next. Time management specialists tell us that we
       known as the Pareto Principle. This universal principle                 can gain more control over our time by setting priorities.
       can be applied to many situations and areas of life.                    If we have a choice each day in the tasks we do, we
       It suggests around 80 per cent of the inputs relate                     should identify the top 20 per cent, create an urgency
       to around 20 per cent of the outputs, Applied to our                    or priority for them and do them before doing too many
       work, it suggests that around 20 per cent of our efforts                in the bottom 80 per cent. We should assess if what
       produce 80 per cent of the results – and, conversely, 80                we’re doing is as important as what is being left undone.
       per cent of our efforts produce only 20 per cent of the                 Dropping or delaying a task that is of low importance
       results. This begs the question: are we spending our                    for something more important is the key to higher
       work time on the things that really count?                              productivity and to making a difference.
       The rub is that some activities can take up a lot of time               The old adage ‘Time is Money’ is true from whatever
       but only have little influence on the overall outcome.                  perspective you look at it. Time well used makes money.
       It is human nature for us to work on the urgent rather                  Time poorly used is not good value for money. Keep the
       than the important. Urgent things demand our attention                  80:20 rule in mind to help you examine if your time is
       but they do not really let us get ahead. We need to                     being used well. Even if you are a bit sceptical, try 80:20
       learn how separate the majors from the minors.                          thinking for a few days and just see what happens!

                                 Tasmanian Dairy
                                Demonstration Farm
                                                ‘The Gums’, Woolnorth

 ‘Demonstrating principles and practices to deliver top 10% profitability for larger dairy herds’

Revisiting Our Targets And Planning Forward
Chris Haynes, TIAR Dairy Centre and TDDF Farm Management Group member

The goal posts have shifted in terms of being able to           paddocks will have an Italian ryegrass seed spread before
achieve the farms targets set for the 2009-10 season.           the herd enters for the next grazing. Currently, 45ha is
This means it is very important to get full understanding       out of rotation for fodder crops (rape and turnips); last
of where the business is placed financially. We all know        season the farm sowed 20ha. Soil moisture has delayed
the start of the season has been very wet and very              the sowing of these crops but they all should be sown,
challenging, so a review of where the farm is in terms of       ‘weather permitting’, by the week starting October 26. The
its key physical targets will give the opportunity to make      varieties chosen will have different dates of maturity.
better informed business decisions.
                                                                It is quite obvious that the farm will reach the key physical
For your farm you’ll have an idea of whether your herd’s        financial targets set at the start of season. The key aim
targeted peak production has been achieved and,                 will be for the farm to get as close to financial break-even
therefore, you’ll have an idea of whether production            as possible. Considering the tough start of the season,
targets will be met. Updated milk income estimation is a        your pre-season targets maybe out of reach, so now is
very useful start to work out where the season is heading       the time to prepare and set up a revised plan for your
from the income side of your business. Then it is all about     business.
trying to trim more costs in the areas of your business
where you think you can, without affecting business
efficiency.                                                     Table: Current and budgeted position for milk and pasture

The financial position                                           Parameter         Current position   Budgeted
This period of the year can be very tight on cash flow
                                                                 Milk Production   15 litres          18 litres       ↓cow numbers
especially if you are carrying over expenses incurred                              1.18kgMS/cow       1.40kgMS/cow    ↓peak production
last season. For the demonstration farm, the cash flow                             2.79kgMS/ha        3.62kgMS/ha     Seasonal climatic
position is very tight due to a budget that has been hit with
                                                                 Pasture growth    50kgDM/ha/day      70kgDM/ha/day   Seasonal climatic
higher than budgeted cow losses, peak milk production                                                                 conditions
being lower than targeted (see Figure for impact of lower        APC (assuming     1901kgDM/ha        2020kgDM/ha     Seasonal climatic
cow numbers and lower peak production), higher than              45ha out for                                         conditions
budgeted concentrate usage linked with the wet start             fodder crops)

to the season. The challenging start to the season has           Nitrogen usage    142kgN/ha          153kgN/ha       Close to targets
                                                                 (1 – 1.5kgN/
meant our budgets forecast at the start of season will           ha/day)
not be achieved. This farm recently undertook the Taking
Stock program on a budget that was looking very tight and
some further savings were identified.

Looking forward
The season is 2–3 weeks later than normal, mainly due
to the average rainfall being higher than average for the
past three months. The Table gives a good indication
of where the farm is situated from a pasture and milk
production position. Milk production is below budget for
both per cow and per hectare figures. Per cow production
is being influenced by the lighter once-a-day herd that
were transferred from another farm and impact of the
start of the season. They are approximately 15–20%
behind budget per cow. Nitrogen will be applied at a rate
1.5kgN/ha over the spring growing period. The wet start
to the year has meant there will very little plant-available-
nitrogen to optimise pasture growth, hence, the need to
apply nitrogen.                                                 Figure: Impact of lower cow numbers and lower peak
Unlike other areas of the State, pugging damage is limited
mainly to paddock entrances due to cow traffic. These

    This Season and Mastitis
    As a result of the recent wet conditions and power
    failures, the incidence of clinical mastitis has increased
    dramatically, cell counts have skyrocketed and farmers
    have treated and culled more cows than normal for

    Opportunities for infection
    In cold, wet and windy conditions the natural protective
    surface coating of the teat skin is removed allowing
    mastitis pathogens such as Staph aureus to grow. The            Figures: Graphs from cell count information collated monthly
    presence of water, mud and manure also increases the                      as an industry service by TasHerd
    number of other mastitis causing bacteria (particularly
    coliforms and Strep uberis) in the cow’s environment.
    Mud, as it dries, also draws moisture from the skin which       Longer term mastitis control strategies
    becomes harder and less elastic. Teats sores and cracks         • Keep a tally of clinical mastitis cases. If either of
    develop and provide sites where bacteria can multiply. The        the following triggers occur, call your vet - more than
    teat damage can be painful to the cow, causing her to kick        3 clinical mastitis cases/100 cows in a month or a
    and defecate more frequently during milking time, and             second course of treatment is required in more than 4
    have poor let-down.                                               out of 10 clinical cases.
    Damaged teat skin is a significant risk factor for mastitis     • Antibiotic use. In general, where single quarters are
    in any weather. Virtually all mastitis infections enter the       affected, use a course of intramammary tubes. If
    udder through the end of the teat. The more bacteria near         multiple quarters are affected, consider treating the
    the teat end, the higher the risk of infection.                   cow with a course of injectable antibiotic. If treatment
                                                                      appears to be ineffective, consider taking milk cultures
    Milking wet teats also increases the likelihood of both           and consult your vet.
    mastitis and milk quality issues. If any portion of the         • Check your Bulk Milk Cell Count. If counts continue
    udder above the teats is wet, then dirty, bacteria-               above 300,000 get assistance from factory field staff or
    contaminated water can drain into the top of the teatcup          your vet.
    liner during milking. This increases coliform counts in
    milk and increases the risk of mastitis from environmental      • Check teats regularly. Look at teats for cracks, sores
    pathogens).                                                       or roughening of the skin at the teat ends. Call your vet
                                                                      if more than 5% of teats have cracks or sores, or 10%
    One of the key opportunities for infection to occur is during     have teat end calluses.
    the first few minutes after the cups are taken off, before      • Continue herd testing to enable you to identify
    the teat canal has fully closed and sealed. Because this is       which cows are subclinically infected. With cell
    such a critical period, try to ensure that cows are not left      counts and clinical case records you can generate a
    milling around or lying down in areas of mud or excessive         Countdown Mastitis Focus report to track your mastitis
    faecal contamination immediately after they leave the             management at
    dairy. These areas will become even more critical in wet
    weather, with the potential for huge numbers of bacteria to     • Change liners after 2500 cow milkings or 6 months,
    contaminate the teat skin and teat canal opening.                 whichever comes first.
                                                                    • Consider using a blanket approach to dry cow
    While the worst is now hopefully over, the effects of             treatment at drying-off. Mastitis may continue at
    mastitis can unfortunately remain. It is well worth               subclinical levels after treating clinical cases during
    reviewing what the Countdown Downunder national cell              lactation. Treatment at drying-off is your best chance to
    count and mastitis control program recommends should
                                                                      remove chronic mastitis infections.
    have been or could have been done to minimise the risk
    of mastitis in your herd to-date and what needs to be           This article is largely sourced from the ‘Dealing With
    considered for the remainder of the season.                     Mastitis In Wet Muddy Conditions’ article available
    Priorities in wet, muddy conditions
    • Teat spray with an effective disinfectant and emollient.
      Good coverage of every teat every milking will reduce
      the number of bugs and increase teat end skin
      condition. Healthier skin is easier to keep clean.
    • Wash and dry teats before putting on cups. Low                            Worth Thinking On
      pressure hoses and paper towels are the best.
    • Keep checking for clinical mastitis and treat cows with                  “When you have exhausted all
      clots or abnormality that persists for three or more
      squirts.                                                                 possibilities, remember this –
    • Manage the effect of the environment as best as                          you haven’t!” - Thomas Edison
      possible. Minimise the amount of mud and manure
      that contaminates the teats especially after the cups
      come off while the teat ends are still open.

Bring Out The Best In Bulls                                                       Veterinary Services
The bull team on dairy farms will be more important
than ever this year, especially if farmers have chosen to
shorten the AI period or use bulls instead of AI. Not having
                                                                                   Subsidy Scheme
enough bulls is still the number one issue limiting bull                     The State Government has established a subsidy
performance.                                                                 scheme to help dairy farmers improve or maintain
It’s easy to work out how many bulls are needed by using                     the welfare of their cattle during the current
InCalf’s rule of thumb:                                                      downturn.
• Seasonal/split calving herds (using AI and bulls): 3 bulls                 Under the program, Tasmanian dairy farmers can
   for every 100 cows at mating start date (start of AI) or 4                claim 50% of the cost of a professional veterinary
   per 100 if mating synchrony is used.                                      visit to their property where it is for:
• Seasonal/split calving herds (no AI; bulls only): 6 bulls                  •	 The purpose of providing advice about the
   for every 100 cows (includes replacements in case of                         health and welfare of their cattle or
                                                                             •	 Treatment to resolve an identified health and
Farmers tell us the main reason they don’t increase bull
numbers is concern about bull temperament, fighting
                                                                                welfare issue.
and lameness. Some simple management practices can                           The subsidy is not for costs associated with
bring out the best in bulls and prevent problems with bull                   market assurance programs, export testing or
behavior:                                                                    over-the-counter drugs.
• Prevent fighting: by using young bulls that have been                      Subsidy applications will be processed in the
  together for at least a month before joining starts.                       order they are received. The subsidy scheme
• Prevent lameness: by keeping bulls off laneways and                        lasts until 30 November 2009 or the program
  cement yards.                                                              budget of $25,000 is exhausted, whichever is
• Maintain fertility: by splitting the team into groups that                 first.
  can be rotated and spelled.
                                                                             Please note that the subsidy is only payable to
• Be patient and persistent: allow two to three weeks for                    a registered dairy farmer and for a professional
  bulls to get used to your system.
                                                                             veterinary visit between 6 October and 30
Lastly, don’t forget bull health: vaccination, worming                       November 2009. Applications should be sent
and testing for Pestivirus (BVD).                                            to DPIPWE as soon as possible but by no later
For more information about bull power and                                    than Monday 14 December 2009.
management visit and follow the                            Applications need to be on a special application
prompts to Bulls: Power Up!                                                  form available from DPIPWE or website www.
                                                                    and must include the
                                                                             veterinarian’s invoice. If you have any query
                                                                             about the Veterinary Services Subsidy Scheme,
                                                                             please contact 1300 368 550.

    Free Business Advice                                                     Investment Decisions On
       For TAsmAniAn                                                         Feed Pads And Feeding
       dAiry FArmers                                                         Machinery
     Taking Stock Consultations
                                                                             A decision support tool to assist dairy farmers
                                                                             make sound economic decisions on the viability of
                                                                             different supplementary feeding systems for their
         Tasmanian dairy farmers are invited to seize the opportunity        herd has recently been developed by DPI Victoria.
         to have a free, independent financial, physical and people          The tool allows users to make initial assessments
    resources assessment of their business through a trained consultant.
                                                                             of investments in feeding infrastructure and plant
              This consultation comes at no cost to the farmer.
                                                                             they are considering for their farm. Supporting
      A Taking Stock consultation will assist dairy farmers with financial
                                                                             information on key biophysical and financial
            and management strategies over the coming season.
                                                                             considerations is provided for each of the inputs
       Contact DairyTas today to take advantage of this opportunity.
                                                                             along the way. A partial budget approach is used
           Phone: 6432 2233 or email;
                                                                             to make the initial assessment relatively simple.
                                                                             The feedout checkout tool and instruction
                                                                             manual can be downloaded from www.dpi.vic.

                                                  Dairy Research Update
                                                  The Tasmanian Institute of Agricultural Research (TIAR) is a joint venture between the University of
                                                  Tasmania, the Department of Primary Industries and Water and industry. TIAR Dairy Centre’s role is to
                                                  provide a co-ordinated approach to dairy research, development and extension for Tasmania.

    Milk, Money and Muck
    Dr Lucy Burkitt and Jess Coad, PhD Candidate, TIAR Dairy Centre

    Milk, money and muck are key drivers of every dairy farm.
    Cows use the nutrients and energy in pastures and crops
    to make milk. A proportion of these nutrients leave your
    farm in a tanker, the rest are deposited as dung and urine
    on the farm. The money kicks in when you buy in enough
    nutrients and feed, so that the farm remains productive.
    Too few nutrients and you may be losing production; too
    much and you build up excess nutrients and perhaps
                                                                                      Differences in paddock soil phosphorus levels measured on
    damage the environment. It all sounds simple doesn’t it?
                                                                                                  one of the participating dairy farms.
    In reality, managing nutrient flow is one of the most
    complex jobs that dairy farmers have to deal with. While
    nutrients mostly enter the farm in fertiliser and feed,                    the first year of detailed monitoring, there are already
    there are many other sources, such as nitrogen fixation by                 significant outcomes for the scientists and the farmers.
    legumes, or those delivered in rain or irrigation water. Once              A key finding has been the variable soil fertility levels
    they have entered the farm, nutrients are transformed and                  measured across the dairy farms, which impacts on overall
    circulated from the soil, to pasture, to cows, to manure,                  production and potential environmental contamination.
    and then back to the soil. The main nutrient outputs from                  These fertility differences can be caused by manure and
    the farm include the milk and animals that contribute                      fertiliser applications, crop and fodder harvesting and
    to profitability, or nutrient losses which may cause                       removal, and the concentration of livestock in particular
    environmental damage to water and the atmosphere.                          areas.
    To sort through this complexity, research teams from 14
                                                                               More information is including technical information,
    regions across Australia including TIAR Dairy Centre are
    conducting a national project, ‘Accounting for Nutrients                   project details and progress reports is available from
    on Australian Dairy Farms’. The main aim of this project                   the project website
    is to provide dairy farmers and their advisers with simple                 or by contacting Lucy Burkitt, TIAR, 6430 4972.
    tools to help them make more profitable nutrient decisions
    and minimise nutrient losses. Improved nutrient use can
    save dairy farmers tens of thousands of dollars. However,
    the project is not only about dairy farmers saving money                      What’s On?
    today. It is also about making the Australian dairy industry                  November – early December 2009
    competitive and sustainable for the long run.
                                                                                  Fair Work Legislation Seminars for Agricultural
    The diversity of dairy farms operating across Australia
    provides an ideal opportunity to develop effective ways
                                                                                  Ouse, Ulverstone and Richmond (For details see
    to assess how nutrients are used, and identify ways to
                                                                                  newsletter item, October issue (Contact National
    reduce input costs and use nutrients more efficiently. The
                                                                                  Farmers Federation, 02 6273 3855)
    Accounting for Nutrients project is working closely with 44
    commercial dairy farms around Australia including four in
                                                                                  DairyTas AGM and Industry Briefing
    Tasmania. It involves measuring all inputs and outputs, as
                                                                                  November 24, DairyTas AGM, Riana Community
    well as the amount and form of nutrients recycled around
                                                                                  Centre, Riana, 11am to 1pm followed by a farm visit to
    the farm
                                                                                  Andrew and Matthew Radford’s with focus on pasture
    At this stage the project has collected and analysed                          renovation and irrigation development (RSVP for
    more than 4000 feed, soil, pasture, milk and dung                             catering Mark Smith, DairyTas, 6432 2233)
    samples. These measurements are being put into a
    specially designed database that will help the researchers                    Dairy Live 2
    understand how nutrients are flowing through and around                       December 1, Optimising Feed Conversion Efficiency,
    dairy farms.                                                                  Albert Hall, Launceston (Contact Mark Smith, DairyTas,
    While the on-farm research work is only at the end of                         6432 2233)

     Tassie Dairy News is provided free to all Tasmanian dairy farmers and is funded by Dairy Australia. For more information, please contact a
     TIAR Dairy Centre adviser, phone 6430 5295.
     Disclaimer: This publication has been prepared for the general information of dairy farmers in Tasmania. TIAR and the University of
     Tasmania do not accept any liability for damage caused by, or economic loss arising from reliance upon information or material contained
     in this publication.

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Description: Getting Pastures Back Into Shape