Livestock producers have an opportunity to view a range of pastures to fill the autumn feed gap under trials examining year-round grazing options for sheep and hear about the latest climate research.
The FEED365 and FutureSheep Field Day will run at the Katanning Leisure Centre and Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) research station on Wednesday 5 April.
Attendees can hear from DPIRD, Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) and WA Livestock Research Council (WALRC) speakers, along with seed and nursery companies.
The FEED365 project aims to create a year-round feed supply with reduced reliance on supplementary feeding.
Senior research scientist Daniel Real said the project, led by DPIRD with co-investment from MLA, was evaluating more than 60 species of annual and perennial grasses, legumes and herbs, cereals, native grasses, summer crops and shrubs.
“Some feedbase options will grow only during the winter growing season and some will grow at other times of the year,” Dr Real said.
“For all the options that grow at a specific time period, forage yield, forage quality and animal production are assessed.
“Modelling will be used to optimise animal production all year round, based on measured animal production from the grazing plots.”
Forty-eight grazing plots across 24 hectares are established on two contrasting sites at the research facility, one on a gravelly sand soil and the other a valley floor sandy loam soil.
Dr Real said FEED365 was partnering with six grower groups to extend the footprint of the Katanning-based project to a larger region of WA.
The FutureSheep project is examining climate adaptation options for the sheep industry.
DPIRD senior research officer Kevin Foster said the FutureSheep project will also look at adaptation options.
“Modelling can provide an insight into what the industry will look like in 2030 and 2050 and what tools, enterprise balance, pastures and strategies are required to remain profitable,” Dr Foster said.
Attendees will have the opportunity to hear from MLA project manager Mitch Plumbe and WALRC chair Bronwyn Clarke.
A range of DPIRD researchers will cover topics including temperature and rainfall modelling in the Great Southern, soil types, initial project results, autumn feed alternatives and addressing the feed gap.
The afternoon session will include site tours of the grazing plots showcasing how autumn feed gap pastures are performing.
The highly anticipated tedera agronomic manual will also be released. The joint publication by DPIRD and MLA focuses on Lanza® tedera, which was made commercially available to Australian producers in 2019.
More information on the FEED365 and FutureSheep Field Day is available here.
Jodie Thomson/Megan Broad, media liaison +61 (0)8 9368 3937