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Beyond the Bale : March 2014
33 SELLING MORE WOOL 33 ON-FARM Rotational grazing in the pastoral zone Cell centre watering point for rotational grazing on Angus Whyte's NSW pastoral property. Electric tape and spring handles are used as gates in the cell centre. comfortable to come in and water. “ If we hadn’t gone through that we couldn’t have then have taken the next step to put in smaller cell centres because that would have been far too much pressure and we would have lost far too much productivity.” • View the “Low Stress Stock Handling” case study on the Bestprac website at www.bestprac.info PASTURE UTILISATION Since the change to rotational grazing, benefits have included better pasture utilisation and landscape management, improved productivity, and a reduction in labour requirements. This is a system that Angus’s land and livestock consultant Nic Kentish endorses, and he encourages other businesses in the pastoral zone to consider. “ Most places that you would come across could have a fence put up the middle of every paddock, so double the number of paddocks,” Nic says. “ So if you have 10 paddocks to start with, you’re grazing one and resting nine. Cut them all in half, you’re grazing one and resting nineteen. And cut all them in half, you’re grazing one and resting 39. This results in the plants having far longer rest and that’s what the sensitive plants around here want. “ Right now at Wyndham there’s a distance from the water trough to the back of the paddock of just two kilometres on average so that’s pretty ideal. But if you have country where the sheep have to travel a long way from water to get good grazing, and back again to the water, then they’re not going to put on much weight – you can imagine how much energy they’re burning up in walking. “ Plus when you’ve got country of which one quarter never seems to get a grazing because it’s just too far to go without water, well it’s a waste of country. “ What we really want to get away from is big spikes and big troughs in the nutrient cycle of the year of the animal; we like to take those big troughs into gentle oscillations. So the sheep go into a paddock, spend a week in a paddock, get the best out of the start of the week, and at the end of the week that’s enough, and we move the sheep onto the next one. So there are 52 little bumps over the year – that’s not going to be a problem in tensile strength of wool. “And of course the other good thing I like about the new system here at Wyndham is that there’s so few places that you have to check on 12,500ha, which reduces labour costs.” Angus concludes that implementing water points in cell centres has reduced the infrastructure required and more than halved labour costs of checking water. “ To put it simply, for us it’s been a major time saver and made us more money in our business. It’s a fantastic tool to deliver that,” he says. More information: For the full case studies, video and a recording of a webinar of Angus and Nic telling their experience, visit the Bestprac website at www.bestprac.info www.wyndhamstation.com.au www.nickentish.com.au www.lss.net.au Following the success of the 2009 Australian Pastoral Property Innovation Manual, AWI and its extension network for pastoral wool producers, Bestprac, continue to promote innovation uptake across the pastoral regions of Australia through the launch of the first outputs of the Accelerating Rangeland Innovation project. The project profiles innovations to reduce time, save on costs and generally make life easier. Woolgrowers who are seeking new ideas to implement in their business can now access this series of innovations used on other pastoral properties. These innovations have been published as profiles, business cases and videos available on the Bestprac website www.bestprac.info If you have a pastoral innovation to share, contact Taryn Mangelsdorf, Rural Directions Pty Ltd, on 08 8841 4500 or firstname.lastname@example.org ACCELERATING PASTORAL ZONE INNOVATION March 2014 BEYOND THE BALE