DRY-SUMMER STRATEGIES – RESOURCES

Resources to help you prepare for feed shortfalls
Resources to help you prepare for feed shortfalls

Resources to help you prepare for feed shortfalls

 

Need to plan a dry-season feed budget? Here’s what you need

 

Last time we looked at tips to think about in drier times. This time, pasture agronomist Cam Nicholson, who works with Southern Farming Systems – the Victoria Drought Resilience Adoption & Innovation Hub’s South-West Node lead – goes through creating a dry-season feed budget.

Despite some rain across South-West Victoria in October, the past four months have been 40% to 60% below average. This has resulted in lower spring pasture growth, as annuals have run to head earlier and leaf growth on perennials has slowed.

Later-season rainfall will only boost growth if the perennials have not started flowering, which means the amount of pasture carried over into summer and autumn will be less than previous years.

Simple feed budgets can help guide how much earlier you may need to start feeding or what impact selling some stock now may have on feed available as we head towards the autumn break.

Resources to help you prepare for feed shortfalls
Figure 1. Rainfall Deciles for Victoria for 4 months to Oct 31, 2023. Source: BOM

Creating a dry-season feed budget requires 4 pieces of information:

 

This will help determine how long the feed will last and provide an early warning of when additional feeding may be needed.

A simple feed-budget calculator is available here.

You may also find the Vic Drought Hub Tech Note No.6 on feed budgeting handy: How long will the feed last?

You can find all the Vic Drought Hub Tech Notes – including No.1, which gives a good basic summary of this article – in our Resources section.

You can read part 1 and part 2 of our Dry-Summer Strategies series.

 

Resources to help you prepare for feed shortfalls