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Cold snap could impact cattle farms

Australian farmers are reaching out for help to maintain their animals after a cold snap hit pastures across the country.

Feed Central business development manager forquality services, Ian Wickham, said producers are looking for supplementary feed options.

“The sudden change in temperature has really knocked native pastures and in many cases the land is too wet for stock,” Mr Wickham said.

“We’ve received a lot of calls from producers looking for high energy feed options to get their animals through this tough period.

“The colder the temperature and the greater the exposure to wet and windy conditions, the greater the increase in maintenance energy requirements.”

However, Haddon farmerChris Draffin says icy mornings are standard for areas around Ballarat and Central Highlands.

It was pretty unexpected for around here,” Mr Draffin laughed.

“It’s fairly stock standard –you have to set the system up to allow for it, but that’s about it.

“It’s (the cold weather) par for the course around Ballarat.”

Mr Wickham said it was important to feed higher quality forage or provide supplemental grain to ensure an active rumen.

“When cows are in poor to marginal condition, there areserious negative effects such as viability of her calf and subsequent breeding performance,” he said.

There are several good options available for farmers needing feed, including lucerne hay and wheaten hay.

Nutritionist Dr Steve Little from Capacity Ag Consulting said farmers need to know the nutritional value of what they are buying, focusing on energy and protein.

“It’s straightforward maths – animals need to be provided with enough food to meet their daily energy and protein requirements for maintenance and production,” he said.

“Farmers need to do a feed budget to calculate how many megajoules of metabolisable energy per day each animal will need to keep on track and then work out how best to meet that requirement.”

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