Grazing Land Management

Stocking rate challenge at Grasslands conference this week

Sheep Central, September 4, 2017

Senior Meridian Agriculture consultant Jim Shovelton.

NORTH-EAST Victorian farmers will be challenged to increase their stocking rates to improve profitability, at the Grassland Society of Southern Australia’s annual conference at Nagambie this week.

The conference on September 6-7 aims to help producers to build on basics and invest to grow.

At the conference, senior consultant with Meridian Agriculture in Euroa, Jim Shovelton, will outline that getting stocking rates and soil fertility right are the most important `basics’ for farmers in the region.

Mr Shovelton said he believed stocking rates in the north-east were generally low and there has been a long-term under-investment in soil fertility.

During his talk, Mr Shovelton will outline strategies for farmers to prioritise their spending to improve soil fertility to pave the way for higher stocking rates.

“The amount of money spent on fertiliser is the biggest discretionary cost in a grazing operation – the question is how you make the best use of it?”

“If you get your soil right you not only have an increased carrying capacity, the systems will be more resilient, will stand up better to droughts and adverse conditions and you end up with better quality feed,” he said..

“It gives you more flexibility in your system.”

Mr Shovelton said potential stocking rates were influenced by the growing season and but could only be captured by having good soil fertility and the right species.

“If you get the soil conditions right you have the springboard to get your stocking rate up to where it should be; then you’ll capture all the other added benefits of the investment genetics and grazing management.”

“You’ve got to run enough stock to cover the average overhead cost per hectare and then you’ve got to make a profit above that.”

The 58th annual Grassland Society conference at Michelton Wines will outline the best ways to invest on-farm to capitalise on good livestock prices.

The conference will feature presentations from local practitioners and some of Australia’s best researchers. It will include half day bus trips to visit local farms and the Society’s Annual General meeting.

For all conference enquiries, call the GSSA Office on 1300 137 550, or email [email protected]


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