Benefits of pasture research on display during field day

Tamworth Agricultural Institute hosts pastures field day with NSW DPI, LSS, UNE and CSIRO | Photos

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Producers from across the state flocked to the Tamworth Agricultural Institute.

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THE benefits of a variety of different pastures for livestock production were on full display during a field day at the Tamworth Agricultural Institute on Friday.

A crowd of more than 60 producers from across the state gathered for the event hosted by the NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) and the North West Local Land Services (LLS), which focused on the latest research from the Livestock Productivity Partnership..

Producers heard about the latest research in grazing desmanthus from NSW DPI's Dr Suzanne Boschma as well as the latest update from the institute's digit grass and lucerne mixtures research from NSW DPI's Dr Sean Murphy.

Also presenting during the day-long event was the University of New England's Dr Jonathan McLachlan, who discussed the requirements of tropical legumes, while the CSIRO's Jody McNally explored the benefits of dual purpose crops for lamb production.

"We've tried to cover a broad range of what's happening in terms tropical pastures, dual purpose cropping and we've tried to offer a few different things to interest everyone," NSW DPI development officer Sarah Baker said.

"When it comes to the mixtures research, as we've had a really wet, cool season, the lucerne has done really well this year, compared to when it was a bit warmer and drier the digit grass probably outperformed it.

"This experiment is about getting a legume in your system with your grass, because it will have a higher feed quality for your livestock as well as provide nitrogen for your grass.

"So we are trying to find the right mix and find out how to get both your legume and grass to stay in the mix, while not competing or swamping the other.

"The livestock component to this research is the key of this field day because at the end of the day, you only make money out of the meat or wool you sell, not the grass that you grow."

The institute's latest research into Chilean Needle grass was also a highlight of the day as producers saw first hand how to deal with the problem.

"The latest research we have been doing on Chilean Needle Grass, which has been a bit of an issue in this part of the world, was really well received," Ms Baker said.

"Things like how do we control it, how do we prevent it and things like that were really beneficial."

North West LLS mixed farming advisory officer George Truman said a highlight of Friday's field day was a presentation from Armidale-based Optiweigh, which offers equipment for producers to weigh stock in the paddock without having to handle them.

"Pleasingly, over 50 per cent of the people who attended this field day have been to technical updates we have done in the past, so it's really good to see they are following that up the new knowledge," Mr Truman said.

"One of the points raised by an agronomist at our last technical update session earlier this year was that we do a lot of measuring of the soil, water and dry matter, but we don't measure our animals as much.

"That's why we really wanted to get the guys from Optiweigh out here to talk to everyone about their technology and what it can do for their operation.

"It's the missing link because we're not really correlating what our livestock are doing in terms of weight gain and production into our pastures.

"The automation and ease people can now accomplish that by using Optiweigh is what we are really trying to highlight during this event."

Videos of Friday's field day will be available on the NSW DPI website.

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