Tips for Grazing Crop Stubble: Ensuring the Health of Flocks

Tips for Grazing Crop Stubble: Ensuring the Health of Flocks

As the grain harvest in Victoria comes to a close, farmers are turning their attention to grazing crop stubble. Agriculture Victoria has recently updated its website with valuable tips for managing variable feed quality to maintain the health of flocks.

One of the key factors to consider when grazing stubble is the energy and protein content of the diet. While stubble can be a good source of nutrition for sheep during the summer and autumn months, the feed quality can vary significantly. This is where sheep supplements come into play to ensure a balanced diet.

Agriculture Victoria senior veterinary officer, Dr. Paul Beltz, explains that the value of feed in stubble is derived from residual grain and the quantity of green plant material. However, it’s important for farmers to be aware of the variability in the feed value of different types of stubble and how to measure it on their farms. The best time to start grazing stubble is immediately after harvest, as the quality tends to decline over time.

To maintain the health of sheep while grazing on stubble, it’s crucial to be mindful of potential health issues. These include grain poisoning, nitrate poisoning, lupinosis, thiamine deficiency, water belly, and worms. Farmers should monitor the condition of their flock and provide appropriate licks and supplements as needed.

In order to minimize the risk of toxic weeds impacting the health of sheep, stock should be removed from the area after six weeks or once grain and green feed falls below 40kg per hectare. This allows for the reduction of stubble loads, which ultimately benefits farmers as they prepare for the autumn and winter seasons.

For detailed information and resources on sheep nutritional requirements when grazing stubble, farmers can visit the Agriculture Victoria website at https://agriculture.vic.gov.au/crops-and-horticulture/grains-pulses-and-cereals/crop-production/general-agronomy/sheep-nutritional-requirements-when-grazing-stubble. By following these guidelines, farmers can ensure the health and well-being of their flocks while maximizing the benefits of grazing crop stubble.

FAQ Section:
1. What factors should farmers consider when grazing crop stubble?
– Farmers should consider the energy and protein content of the diet when grazing stubble.

2. Why is feed quality important when grazing stubble?
– The feed quality of stubble can vary significantly, so it is important to ensure a balanced diet for the sheep.

3. What are some potential health issues for sheep grazing on stubble?
– Potential health issues include grain poisoning, nitrate poisoning, lupinosis, thiamine deficiency, water belly, and worms.

4. How can farmers minimize the risk of toxic weeds impacting the health of sheep?
– Farmers should remove stock from the area after six weeks or once grain and green feed falls below 40kg per hectare.

5. Where can farmers find more resources on sheep nutritional requirements when grazing stubble?
– Farmers can visit the Agriculture Victoria website at agriculture.vic.gov.au for detailed information and resources on this topic.

Definitions:
– Stubble: The remaining part of a crop that is left in the field after harvest.
– Feed quality: Refers to the nutritional value and suitability of feed for livestock.
– Residual grain: Grain left in the field after harvest.
– Licks: Supplements or mineral mixes given to animals to provide additional nutrition.

Suggested Related Links:
Agriculture Victoria Website