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Beyond the Bale : March 2017
The performance of sheep is largely determined by the quality and quantity of available pasture which, when known, enables better decisions to be made regarding allocation of stock to paddocks or supplementary feeding. To help producers to better assess Feed On Offer (FOO) in their pastures, AWI in 2013 funded the development of a web-based photo library of 500 FOO standards. This online photo library allows producers to estimate the FOO and nutritive value of grazed pastures by comparing their own pastures to reference photos in the online library. FOO in central to the skills developed through the Lifetime Ewe Management (LTEM) program. The photo library can be used in conjunction with the LTEM feed budgeting tables available at www.lifetimewool.com.au The library is searchable which allows users to access photos relevant to their region. It covers a wide range of production zones, including cool climate, Mediterranean, warm temperate and pastoral species. The 500 available records were collected by experienced agronomists across Victoria, NSW, Queensland, WA and SA, from typical pastures in each region in summer, autumn, winter and spring with a range of FOO values at each harvest. Every photo comes with a full set of nutritional information including protein, digestibility, metabolisable energy (ME) content, legume content, ground cover and pasture height. HANDY NEW PDF REFERENCE DOCUMENTS EASE USE To help in the retrieval of relevant photos/ information by those producers that might have issues with sorting and downloading data in the current online library, due to Estimating the quantity and quality of paddock Feed On Offer (FOO) is central to the skills developed through the Lifetime Ewe Management (LTEM) course. the size of the gallery, a series of 53 PDF documents (containing the FOO photos and corresponding nutritional information) have been pre-extracted from the website and recently made available to producers. There are 38 ‘state and climatic region’ PDF documents and 15 ‘pasture species’ based PDF documents. They are set up to be printed as A5 pages. If not all photos and data in the PDF are required, you can simply select the required pages in the PDF print option. TIPS FOR ASSESSMENT Use the photos as a guide only. Cutting, drying and weighing the amount of herbage in a 0.1 m2 quadrant will give the most accurate results. Feed on Offer (FOO) is measured as kilograms of dry matter per hectare and includes all above ground herbage. • Bare ground percentage – has a big effect on the amount of dry matter per hectare. • Density – it is important to feel how thick the pasture is. • Height – taller pastures for the same FOO value will allow higher animal production than short pastures. • Grazing pressure – this will affect pasture density and height. Closely grazed clover pastures can have a very high FOO at a relatively low height. • Season – pasture moisture content is high in winter and decreases in spring to summer as pastures flower and senesce. Therefore, the fresh weight of herbage can give a misleading estimate of dry matter. FEED ON OFFER PHOTO GALLERY Not all species and pasture types are available for every states and climatic region. Therefore, consider using FOO data from other states with similar climatic regions if data is not available for your area. The photo library will be redeveloped later this year to accommodate additional photos and data, and improve access. MORE INFORMATION www.wool.com/foo www.lifetimewool.com.au To help producers access key information from the photo library, AWI is also making available at www.wool.com/foo PDF documents that have already been specially prepared for a range of 53 key state and climatic regions and pasture species. Pictured is a page from the 8-page ‘NSW Summer’ PDF document. Example results containing pasture images and corresponding nutritional information from the online Feed On Offer photo library available via www.wool.com/foo. You are able to download the search results as a PDF document directly to your computer. Members of the Lifetime Ewe Management (LTEM) group at Frankland in the Great Southern Region of Western Australia learning how to use objectively measured Feed On Offer assessments. 46 ON FARM
In the Shops - March 2017