Improving beef business performance with high quality forages

Whole farm economic analyses have shown that perennial legumes are a profitable intervention for many areas of northern Australia. In particular, analyses for central Queensland have shown that perennial legumes (and especially leucaena) are the most profitable of all available beef production strategies as well as being the most profitable of all forage options.

However, most producers only have a limited area of arable soil suited to planting to high quality forages such as perennial legume-grass pastures or annual forage crops. Therefore, they have to make decisions regarding:

  1. Which high quality forage to plant?
  2. How to allocate the high quality forage among different age groups of steers in the herd (i.e. when should steers start grazing high quality forage, for how long, and for which target market?).

In this BeefConnect webinar presentation, Maree Bowen (Principal Research Scientist, Department of Agriculture and Fisheries) will address these two research questions using forage oats and leucaena-grass pastures grown in central Queensland, as an example. You can watch the full recording or use the playlist below to jump to the start of a particular section within the presentation. 31:26 published 26 July 2018 by FutureBeefAu.

Download a copy of the Improving beef business performance with high quality forages (PDF, 3MB) presentation slides.

Full recording

Playlist index

  1. How to maximise returns from high quality forages
  2. Which forage type?
  3. Data from producer sites in central Queensland
  4. Assessing profitability
  5. Strategies tested for effect on whole farm profitability
  6. Whole farm economic analysis – central Queensland
  7. Allocation of high quality forages within the steer herd
  8. Cattle growth paths modelling study – central Queensland
  9. Cattle growth paths on leucaena-grass pasture
  10. Key findings – leucaena growth paths
  11. Combining leucaena-grass pastures with oats
  12. Key findings – leucaena growth paths with oats
  13. Cattle growth paths on buffel pastures with forage oats
  14. Key findings – buffel growth paths with forage oats
  15. Other findings from growth path modelling study
  16. CQ beef extension team can assist with analyses

Read more about improving beef production through persistent and productive legumes (PDF, 2MB), the best way to use high quality forages in central Queensland (PDF, 1MB), and the effect of compensatory gain on productivity and profitability, weaners grazing oats (PDF, 535 KB).

Additional information

Find out what the Breedcow and Dynama software package can do for extensive beef businesses (PDF, 999KB), and about beef extension in the Fitzroy (PDF, 3MB).

Download a copy of Optimal cattle growth pathways in central Queensland (PDF, 2MB).

Visit the High output forages project page to download a copy of the final report, book and gross margin calculators.

Comparison of the economic benefits of  high output forages and other options for beef properties located in the Fitzroy Basin region, can be found in “Fitzroy beef  production systems – preparing for, responding to and recovering from drought“.