Dry season management of a beef business — New and improved!

Dry season management of a beef businessThe Dry season management of a beef business has been revised and updated, providing readers with the latest information to assist in the management of their land and livestock during this dry season.

“Whether readers are running 10 head or 10,000 head, there are fundamental nutrition, grazing management and herd structure principles that apply to all beef operations,” said Principal Extension Officer and co-author, Joe Rolfe. “No matter the herd size, the key challenge remains the same: balancing cattle numbers with seasonal grass supplies.”

“The guide describes the highly variable annual rainfall and pasture growth in western Queensland and the management strategies available in such circumstances, including the pros and cons for each,” Joe continued.

“Successful drought and dry season management depends on early planning and having an open mind to all options. Regardless of where you are in Queensland ‘no rain-no grass-no cattle’ is the fundamental management principle for all beef producers,” said Principal Extension Officer, Joe Rolfe.

“We’ve done our best to make it relevant to beef producers right across the state,” said Principal Extension Officer and co-author, Nicole Sallur. “The booklet includes a step-by-step guide that will assist graziers to objectively review the status of their business, taking into account climate, land and pastures, workforce, finances and cattle, so that proactive decisions can be made when a dry period is anticipated.”

The Dry season management of a beef business booklet includes templates, worked examples, helpful descriptions, supplementation recipes and links to additional sources of information.

“In the heat of the moment during the middle of drought, it can be difficult to decide what to feed your cattle and find unbiased information,” continued Nicole. “So we have included a summary of everything that needs to be considered when supplementing the herd during a dry period. Additionally, the booklet describes management options, such as early weaning and culling strategies that will reduce grazing pressure, and alternative enterprises that improve destocking flexibility.”

The guide also includes practical tips and tools on feeding horses, calculating feed costs, volume and weight measures, reading feed labels and comparing nutritional value of feed options.

The review of Dry season management of a beef business was completed by GrazingFutures and FutureBeef staff in August 2021. The original booklet was published in the 1990’s and has been the ‘go-to’ reference for beef producers on all aspects of herd nutrition and running a successful beef business in dry times.

The rewrite, funded by the Drought and Climate Adaptation Program and the Drought Relief Assistance Scheme, was necessary to provide Queensland beef producers with the latest information on planning for, and managing seasonal variability. Since the booklet’s release at BEEF21, over 4000 booklets were recently delivered to 14 Department of Agriculture and Fisheries offices across Queensland for distribution to local beef producers. To obtain your hard copy, contact your local beef extension officer, or download an electronic version here.