Hay will pay for South West farmers

Agronomist Dan Parnell describes the most ideal growth stage for grazing ryegrass and the recommended post-grazing height.

More than 80 farmers from across the South West attended the recent Making Hay and Silage Pay workshops in Albany, Harvey and Busselton.

The workshops focused on helping farmers find ways to improve on-farm resource efficiency, reduce costly wastage and drive increased profits.

South West Catchments Council (SWCC) partnered with Accioly Livestock Industry Services to bring three, well-respected industry experts together for the sell-out workshops.

Agricultural consultant Dr Martin Staines stressed the importance of producing quality pasture; constant monitoring of soil, pasture and health; and developing a business cost analysis to help make tough financial decisions.

Agronomist Dan Parnell provided information about the benefits of  strong grazing management and supplementary feeding to take the pressure off pastures.

While Meat and Livestock Australia’s Neroli Smith warned of the potential financial penalties producers’ face if meat standards aren’t met and Accioly Livestock Industry Services’ Jeisane Accioly discussed animal health and how to measure and monitor feed to make important and informed needs-based decisions.  

Milne Feeds Sales Manager Dean Maughan said the quality of presentations at the Making Hay and Silage Pay workshops was outstanding.

“The first presentation from Martin was the best explanation of grazing management I have heard,” he said.  “And Dan’s demonstration of grazing management was the best I have seen – a picture tells a thousand words.”

Like most attendees Mr Maughan agreed that presenters did a good job squeezing a week’s worth of information into just one, jam-packed day!

He said the challenge would now be to decide which two or three improvements to implement on farm.

South West Catchment Council Regional Landcare Facilitator Peter Clifton said one of the most popular parts of the day was when producers were arranged into small working groups to discuss different business scenarios and appropriate whole system improvements.

The popularity of the small groups was obvious when 16 attendees at the Busselton event nominated to be part of small groups, which will be vital to help producers implement some of the concepts.

“It’s all well and good to present the concepts but the crunch will come with the groups,” Dr Staines said.

“It’s very hard to be overloaded with information on one day and then have to put it in practice on your farm.

So that’s where these groups can really help in walking a group of people through it, learn from each other and address all of the “ifs” and “buts” and exceptions.”

For more information on small groups being formed in the South West call Peter Clifton at South West Catchments Council on (08) 9724 2400.

The Making Hay and Silage Pay workshops were funded by the Australian Government’s National Landcare Programme.  Other generous sponsors include Western Beef Inc, Milne Feeds and Elders.

A big thank you to South Coast Natural Resource Management and Peel Harvey Catchment Council who helped organise the workshops in Albany and Harvey.

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