There have been some positive results from a summer and autumn on-farm trial conducted by Advantage Feeders in conjunction with farmer Richard Leaver, Riverton, South Australia, according to a company spokesman.
The trial has shown that a mob of ewes supplemented by an Advantage Feeders system out-performed a trail fed mob while consuming 30 per cent less grain.
The ewes on the feeder had far better rumen performance, produced more lambs and finished heavier when compared to the trail fed mob.
Using the same feeder, the 200 lambs were then creep fed and had higher growth rates.
They were sold earlier in the season, increasing net profit by $4900 over a nine month period.
Mr Leaver said the trial went smoothly following a great start to the autumn break with 62 millimetres of rain.
There were regular moderate amounts of follow-up rain with above average winter rainfall and pasture growth.
“Before the start of the trial, I was concerned about the potential of mis-mothering from using feeders through lambing but the weaning results proved this wasn’t an issue,” Mr Leaver said.
“The ewes appeared to have bonded well with the lambs before coming to the feeder.”
The lambs soon learned to use the feeder themselves and adapted easily to creep feeding.
The ewes on the feeder maintained their starting body condition score of 3.0, while the trail fed ewes dropped to 2.5.
Both trial groups had comparable areas of pasture and stubble to graze throughout the trial period and fox baiting was carried out pre-lambing.
Stock lime was given from December through until lambing.
The only other supplementary feed was three round bales to each group in late March.
There was definitely a learning curve for Mr Leaver with set up, positioning and fine tuning of feed rates in the beginning.
He is now confident he can reduce the time taken to do this in the future.
- Visit www.advantagefeeders.com.au.