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Beyond the Bale : June 2019
Woolgrowers who tuned in to the webinar run in April by AWI’s Sheep Connect NSW network learnt a multitude of practical tips on containment feeding during drought. 320 people registered for the live webinar. According to a survey of attendees (at the start of the live webinar), 45% were producers who had not done containment feeding before and were looking for as much information as possible, 32% were producers who were attending to get a refresher and to learn anything new, with the remaining attendees comprising advisors who wanted to keep up to date (18%) or were new to the concept (6%). For those who missed it, the hour-long webinar was recorded and is available to view on the Sheep Connect NSW website at www.sheepconnectnsw.com.au/tools free to anyone across the country. The webinar was presented by Geoff Duddy of Sheep Solutions and covered some key topics including nutritional needs, general containment feeding recommendations, mid to late pregnancy management and lambing management. Geoff also answered questions submitted by webinar attendees. During the webinar, Geoff provided the following dos and don’ts: • Do monitor ewe body condition, intakes, manure and health. • Do meet feed requirements. • Do minimise acidosis (grain poisoning) risk. • Do provide effective fibre. • Do ensure quality water. • Do have a plan for when releasing stock from containment feeding systems. Given ongoing drought conditions across large parts of eastern Australia, it is not surprising that a recent webinar that provided an introduction to containment feeding during drought proved very popular. A recording of the webinar is available to view on the Sheep Connect NSW website. A recording of the webinar by Geoff Duddy of Sheep Solutions is available free to view on the website of AWI’s Sheep Connect NSW network at www.sheepconnectnsw. com.au/tools This AWI best practice guide to managing sheep in droughtlots highlights the purpose, benefits and experiences of woolgrowers managing sheep in containment feeding areas during drought. • Don’t introduce grain-based rations (and pellets) too quickly. • Don’t overstock. • Don’t restrict trough allocations. • Don’t be tempted to release stock from containment feeding areas too early. • Don’t lamb twin-bearing ewes in feedlots (because lamb losses escalate). Other webinar recordings on drought management and other issues are freely available at www.sheepconnectnsw.com.au/ tools to watch at your convenience from the comfort of your home or farm office. A complementary handout – AWI’s Managing Sheep in Droughtlots best practice guide – was also made available to attendees and is available at www.wool.com/droughtresources. For woolgrowers going into, enduring or recovering from drought, AWI provides a range of drought planning and management resources, plus links to useful external resources. Visit www.wool.com/droughtresources. CONTAINMENT FEEDING AND DROUGHT Researchers in Western Australia are keen to test plants with symptoms of subterranean clover red leaf syndrome as part of a broader project to better understand this syndrome. Symptoms of the virus include reddening leaves, stunted plant growth and premature seedling or plant death which can lead to significant loss of dry matter, biological nitrogen and seed production in pastures. Loss of sub clover production is greatest when the plants are infected by the virus in autumn or early winter. The current investigation is a collaboration between the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) and the University of Western Australia (UWA). Researchers believe that SbDV is the most likely cause of the syndrome but it is likely that a number of other contributing stress factors are involved. SbDV is spread by aphids and frequently infects subterranean clover. If producers suspect their clover pasture is infected with SbDV, they are encouraged to arrange FREE testing of symptomatic leaf samples by contacting Paul Sanford (DPIRD) at email@example.com or Kevin Foster (UWA) at firstname.lastname@example.org, who are co-leading the research work. This research and testing are being co-funded this season entirely by DPIRD and UWA. AWI provided a subsidy for the testing in the previous two seasons but can no longer continue this due to reduced company income. Producers who submit samples are provided with the test results and management advice. The testing will also enable the project team to develop a better understanding of the distribution of the virus and susceptible varieties. Detailed guidance to help producers manage the syndrome was produced by AWI, MLA, UWA and DPIRD last year in the form of an 8-page fact sheet, available on www. wool.com/weeds. The fact sheet provides producers with a clear plan of attack if they are, or suspect they are, impacted. To help researchers and livestock RDCs determine the extent of the syndrome, producers are also encouraged to continue reporting incidents of it via the online producer survey (available on www.wool.com/weeds) which is conducted jointly by AWI and MLA. To combat the risk and spread of SbDV, producers are encouraged to use a variety of control measures, including: • Use of insecticides only when the risk of early infection is high • Implementation of annual ryegrass or forage oats into pasture regimes, as grasses do not host SbDV • Consider sowing alternative legume species, such as serradella, which do not appear to be affected by SbDV. MORE INFORMATION www.wool.com/weeds ON FARM 55