A move into silage-based rations has proved a winner for Dobikin Pastoral Company's beef trading enterprise in North West NSW.
Turning over 3500 steers annually - made up of predominantly Angus and Angus cross –Dobikin buys in at 250kg to 300kg and grows them out for the export feeder market to 480kg to 500kg.
Dobikin Pastoral Company’s principal, Rob Vickery, “Dobikin”, Bellata, said they had in the past couple of years invested in a feed mixer and a Disc mill to become self sufficient with supplementary feeding of silage – and the timing has been magnificent.
Bob Jamieson Agencies’ director, Ben Hiscox, said the Vickery family had seen the opportunity to double their numbers annually by using silage to maximise kilograms per hectare and carrying capacity.
“As apposed to two years ago, they have nearly doubled their annual turnover of steers on the same amount of country by maximising the cropping and pasture country and maintaining a continuous weight gain,” Mr Hiscox said.
While backgrounding steers for the Whyalla Feedlot, the aim for Mr Vickery is to gain one and a half kg a day while on silage or fodder crop, with an average daily gain of one kg a day per head overall from purchase to sale.
“We use native pasture and fodder crops in conjunction with silage to grow the steers out, the silage allows us to manage our grass and fodder crops, hedging us against seasonal fluctuations, in turn giving us confidence to keep trading,” Mr Vickery said.
“I believe feed conversion and cost of gain is what makes or breaks your gross margin, we are producing a ration at quite a low cost and seeing some fantastic weight gains.
“We don’t want to play the market, we just want to keep producing beef, seasons and markets are very hard predict!” Mr Vickery said.