Projects and programs
This producer-initiated field-research project was a collaboration between Binalong Landcare, NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) and South East Local Land Services. With the fluctuating cost of conventional fertilizers and concerns around environmental and long-term sustainability, producers were interested in comparing the performance of alternative fertilizers.
They were particularly interested in knowing whether alternative fertilisers could in fact boost production in a cost effective way. Many alternative fertilizer products are marketed using anecdotal claims around their effectiveness so this project set out to validate product performance using a scientific approach. All products trialled were compared to both a nil control and single superphosphate treatment.
This on-farm demonstration began in January 2015. Shannon Arnall had purchased a new block of ‘native’ country that hadn’t received fertiliser for over 13 years and was keen to increase profitability from the existing pasture in the most cost-effective way.
A simple nutrient trial showed that phosphorus (P) was the major nutrient limiting pasture growth. This was not surprising given the history of the paddock, however the question then became: does it still pay to put fertiliser out in a wool operation?
Weaner losses in both Merino and cross-bred flocks are highly variable and can cause significant financial loss. Management not only plays a critical role in minimising losses, but it also determines the financial return from young stock.
Weaner survival is a function of BOTH weaning weight and post weaning growth rate. Animals that fail to gain weight post-weaning become vulnerable and are prone to dying. Adequate nutrition is also needed to ensure weaners continue to grow and meet liveweight targets for joining.
A weaner monitoring project was established at 'Hillcrest', Gunning. The main purpose of the project was to benchmark weaner performance and provide a reference point for sheep producers across the Southern Tablelands.
A rural leadership development program building community, industry and government leadership capacity for resilience and sustainability.