Phosphorus management manual for beef cattle

Media Release – Department of Primary Industry and Fisheries

Phosphorus management manual for beef cattle

15 November 2012

A manual outlining strategies and practices for feeding phosphorus to beef cattle in northern Australia is now available to graziers, station managers, stockmen and students of animal husbandry.

Aimed at northern Australia where phosphorus (P) is a serious nutritional limitation to cattle production, Phosphorus management of beef cattle in northern Australia contains key messages to improve the efficiency and profitability of beef cattle producers.

Department of Primary Industry and Fisheries (DPIF) Regional Director Neil MacDonald says that most Northern Territory soils are deficient in phosphorus and cattle are unable to get sufficient phosphorus from the pastures on these soils without supplementation.

“Phosphorus deficiency results in poor performance and affects the efficiency and profitability of beef production,” Mr MacDonald said.

“The animals that need phosphorus most are growing stock, late-pregnant heifers, cows, and lactating cows.

“These animals are important drivers of production so ensuring they are in optimal condition increases efficiencies and profitability.

“The manual explains why phosphorus is vital for northern cattle production, how to determine if phosphorus supplementation is required for a herd and the different types of phosphorus available.

“It progresses to when, how much and how to feed phosphorus depending on different scenarios.

“The manual also includes a look at the economics and costs of supplementation, plus seven different case studies of producers in WA, the NT and Queensland who have used phosphorus and the results they achieved.

“We found the economic benefits from feeding phosphorus are maximised when done in conjunction with other aspects of good herd management,” Mr MacDonald said.

The manual was a joint effort of the QLD Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, The University of Queensland, the WA Department of Agriculture and Food and DPIF staff with funding from Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA).

Phosphorus management of beef cattle in northern Australia can be downloaded at http://publications.mla.com.au/go/9RSAUWszcNsLsVr9.

To order hard copies of the publication (you can order boxes), call the MLA membership services hotline on 1800 675 717.