HOW TO USE THIS ONLINE MAGAZINE
by clicking the arrows at the side of the page.
by clicking anywhere on the page. A slider will appear, allowing you to adjust your zoom level.
and move the page around when zoomed in by dragging the page.
and return to the original size by clicking on the page again.
by entering text in the search field and click on "In This Issue" or "All Issues" to search the current issue or the archive of back issues
a PDF of this magazine.
by clicking on thumbnails to select pages, and then press the print button.
a page via email, Facebook, Twitter and more.
TO VIEW PREVIOUS EDITIONS
, click the
button at the bottom of the screen.
Beyond the Bale : March 2014
32 ON-FARM Angus Whyte is a fourth generation farmer who runs 5000 Merinos and 300 beef cattle on his property 'Wyndham', 85km north of Wentworth on the Anabranch River in western NSW, along with his wife Kelly and son Mitchell. Receiving an average rainfall of 260mm, Wyndham is a 12,500ha property that was run under a set stocking system, so checking spread-out water points was labour intensive and a significant cost. The Whytes also believed that set stocking was detrimental to their environment and carrying capacity. "Our annual costs for checking water here under a set stock system might be $40,000- $50,000 per year; that's a big number to play with and that's on a fairly small number of stock," Angus explained. "We were unhappy with the amount of money we were making, we were working long hours, and our landscape was really degraded in our eyes." Therefore in 2001, Angus and Kelly implemented a rotational grazing system on Wyndham and increased paddock numbers from 8 large paddocks to 33 smaller ones. To reduce the infrastructure required and also save labour, they have installed cell centres -- water points which multiple paddocks have access to, but only one paddock at a time. "We didn't go straight into cell centres, we went into dividing our paddocks up then rotating our stock around. Now we're at a stage where we're really happy to do cell centres -- they are an effective use of water." Rotational grazing in the FAST FACTS lRotational grazing has provided woolgrowers Angus and Kelly Whyte in western NSW with benefits that their previous set stocking system could not, including better pasture utilisation and landscape management, improved productivity, and more than halving the labour costs of checking water. lThey have installed water points in "cell centres" to reduce the amount of infrastructure and ongoing labour needed for maintenance. lThe success of this innovation rests on a good rate of water flow to the trough and adopting low stress stock handling techniques. CELL CENTRES Four adjoining paddocks are watered by a trough at a single point: the cell centre. All four paddocks have access to the troughs within the cell centre. Using electric tape and spring handles, the paddocks not being used are sectioned off. Only the paddocks which are being used have access to the water. By opening the tape gate to an adjoining paddock, stock can be mustered through the cell centre to the next paddock. The tape gate to the previous paddock is then secured once they have all moved through. Stock can easily be moved into the next paddock via the cell centre, even when they have lambs or calves at foot. This also means the rotational grazing system is not compromised through lambing. With a good rate of water flow into the trough, it reduces stress on stock, allowing stocking rates to be increased in the good seasons. "We don't need to clean our troughs," Angus said. "The stock are in each paddock for about a week, so are using the trough for about four weeks. The rest of the time these troughs are empty with water turned off. Mother Nature comes and cleans it out with the sunlight baking the algae, so there's no cleaning, no maintenance on these troughs." • View the "Cell Centre Watering Point" case study on the Bestprac website at www.bestprac.info LOW STRESS STOCK HANDLING Implementing the rotational grazing system required increases to mob size with stock shifted more frequently between paddocks than a traditional set stocking system. Moving larger mobs of sheep, and containing both sheep and cattle within three wire fencing became problematic at Wyndham. This led Angus and Kelly to investigate and implement low stress livestock handling techniques on their property. "In hindsight there is no doubt that our stock weren't ready to be put together in large mobs in a rotational grazing system. It was only after we did a low stress stock handling school that we were able to work with them and teach them how to behave as a mob in larger stock densities and be Diagram of four paddocks leading into a cell centre with a trough* and water storage tank^. Angus Whyte with his wife Kelly and son Mitchell at 'Wyndham' on the Anabranch River in western NSW. March 2014 BEYOND THE BALE