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Beyond the Bale : December 2013
FAST FACTS l A new web-based Feed On Offer (FOO) library can help producers to estimate FOO and the nutritive value of grazed pastures. l The online library is made up of 500 searchable records of FOO from the country’s wool-growing regions, taken across the seasons in different pasture types. l FOO in central to the skills developed through the Lifetime Ewe Management (LTEM) program, for which AWI has extended funding. New tool to assess pastures Example results from the online Feed On Offer library. region in summer, autumn, winter and spring with a range of FOO values at each harvest. “Every image comes with a full set of nutritional information including protein, digestibility, metabolisable energy (ME) content, legume content and pasture height.” The online library gives the option for producers to download/print only the images and data they require rather than using a hardcopy book containing a large range of non-relevant material. This will help improve producer skills in pasture assessment and reduce printed material. In addition to being available in real time on PCs, the online library is also available on hand held devices such as tablets and smartphones for more flexible use. The resource has been established so that additional material can be added in the future as required. LIFETIME EWE MANAGEMENT “The estimation of the quantity and quality of paddock FOO in central to the skills developed through the Lifetime Ewe Management (LTEM) course,” Mr Manatsa adds. “The course had proven its worth over many years and played a significant role in lifting the profitability of wool and sheep enterprises across all states.” Developed and run by Rural Industries Skill Training (RIST), LTEM helps producers develop skills to improve animal nutrition, lambing percentages and weaning rates. Over 1600 sheep producers managing more than 15 per cent of the national flock have now either completed or joined the two-year on-farm course. 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 has funded the development of a web-based library of more then 500 FOO images. “This new online library allows producers to estimate the FOO and nutritive value of grazed pastures by comparing their own pastures to reference photographs in the online library,” explains AWI Program Manager for Production Systems & Eco-credentials Gus Manatsa. “The library is searchable which allows users to access images relevant to their region. It covers a wide range of production zones, including cool climate, Mediterranean and pastoral species. “The 500 available records were collected by experienced agronomists across Victoria, NSW, Queensland, WA and SA, from typical pastures in each A survey of 290 recent participants showed on average a 10.7 per cent increase in lambing rates and a stocking rate increase of 1.1DSE/ha and a 45 per cent decrease in ewe mortality. With significant additional investment from AWI the course will now be available to a further 500 woolgrowers at the ongoing subsidised rate of $665. The latest round of funding allows LTEM facilitators to travel to more remote areas to speak with groups of woolgrowers on their own properties. More information: The Feed On Offer digital library is available at www.feedonofferlibrary. com. To set up a LTEM group in your local area or to join a group in your area, call RIST on (03) 5573 0943 or visit www.rist.com.au “THIS NEW ONLINE LIBRARY ALLOWS PRODUCERS TO ESTIMATE THE FOO AND NUTRITIVE VALUE OF GRAZED PASTURES BY COMPARING THEIR OWN PASTURES TO REFERENCE PHOTOGRAPHS IN THE ONLINE LIBRARY” GUS MANATSA, AWI PROGRAM MANAGER FOR PRODUCTION SYSTEMS & ECO-CREDENTIALS SELLING MORE WOOL ON-FARM 37 December 2013 BEYOND THE BALE