Winter Feed Gap Trial

Funding: Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) Producer Demonstration Site

Project Duration: April 2020 – September 2023

Amount: $36,783

PDS Aim: Can foliar pasture applications such as Nitrogen and Gibberellic Acid significantly increase DMP on pastures on two soil types on the Monaro over the winter period to optimize stock production and performance relative to untreated winter pastures?

Severe cold winter temperatures with a high frequency of frosts, lead to low soil temperatures and subsequently restrict pasture growth creating an inhibitive “winter feed gap” on the Monaro from May to September.  This has meant many producers sell crossbred lambs and weaner cattle as stores at significantly reduced GM’s prior to winter rather than opting to finish stock. 

Many producers currently use supplementary feeding over the winter period at a major enterprise cost to maintain stocking rate rather than looking at ways to utilize / enhance the feed base by strategically applying pasture growth stimulants such as gibberellic acid (GA) and nitrogen (N).  Winter stocking rates generally dictate enterprise production capacity over the spring and summer period therefore winter carrying capacities remains a major profit driver for the whole grazing system.

Anecdotal observations suggest the use of GA and N products to optimize dry matter production (DMP) is significantly underutilized in the Monaro grazing Industry compared to other grazing regions.

PDS Objective: Validate and assess the potential to increase DMP by applying granular Nitrogen (N) and Gibberellic Acid (GA) to the following fodder systems;

  1. Perennial Pasture (phalaris)
  2. Ryegrass
  3. Cereal Crop