Forage tools now available

The new forage tools developed as a result of the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries and Meat & Livestock Australia’s co-funded project High-output forage systems for meeting beef markets – Phase 2 are now available on the FutureBeef website and are free to use.

The project has highlighted the following top tips for producers to make the most out of high output forages:

  • Ask the right questions before deciding to plant forages, that is:
    • What is the purpose of the forage?
    • What forage types are best suited to my land type and production system?
    • What is the expected forage and cattle production?
    • What is the likelihood of the forage improving my business profitability?
  • Plan ahead
  • Use best-practice agronomy and animal management
  • Collect data and do the sums to measure profitability
    • Calculate paddock gross margins and conduct whole farm profit budgets to compare the sown forage to alternative uses of the land.

Tools produces as part of this project can be used to assist producers in answering these questions and completing these tasks, and therefore in maximising productivity and profitability from high quality forages. The producer guide to forage use, Feeding forages in the Fitzroy (PDF 3.06 MB), is a new book which brings together information on the agronomy, management, cattle production and economic performance from high quality forages. The guide is designed to assist graziers to make informed decisions about what forages may be best for their enterprises, and how to get the best out of them. A series of Microsoft Excel spreadsheets, or Forage gross margin calculators, complement the forage guide. They contain the example (‘constructed’) gross margins presented in the forage guide and can be used to test alternative scenarios based on the users’ own input variables relevant to their individual businesses.

For further information, contact Dr Maree Bowen, DAF Rockhampton on 13 25 23 (cost of a local call within Queensland) or 07 3404 6999.