Last season’s imported supplements totalled 780 kg DM/cow, comprising mostly barley and molasses fed in-shed in spring as part of the lead up to mating. No palm kernel was used. Greenfeed maize is grown on the farm, and chopped and fed to the cows; grass silage is made on support land. All but 200 cows were wintered off the farm last season.
The property has been amalgamated out of several smaller farms, meaning Cameron runs three herds of approximately 350 cows each to cater to the scale of existing infrastructure. Challenges include having to manage a large number of relatively small paddocks (150), different soil types and both irrigated and dryland pastures.
Recent investment in irrigation has made a huge difference to productivity, as has significantly upgrading the effluent system and increasing the amount of land renewed in new pastures each year. “We’ve always renewed about 10% of the farm; more recently we’ve been spraying out and going grass to grass with extra paddocks and the value of that has really started to kick in now,” Cameron says.
“Our goal is to stay focussed on grass, and improve production every year to make sure we’re getting the full benefit out of what’s been invested here.”
Tiller Talk provides a welcome opportunity to maintain the grass focus, stay motivated about improved pasture management and continue meeting and sharing experiences with fellow farmers, Cameron says.