Tips for Grazing Crop Stubble: Ensuring the Health of Your Flock

Tips for Grazing Crop Stubble: Ensuring the Health of Your Flock

Agriculture Victoria has recently updated its online resource on grazing crop stubble, providing timely and crucial information for sheep owners. The webpage, titled ‘Sheep Nutritional Requirements When Grazing Stubble’, offers valuable insights into managing variable feed quality to maintain the health of flocks.

Grazing stubble can prove to be an effective source of nutrition for sheep during the summer and autumn seasons. However, it is important to be aware that the feed quality of stubble can vary significantly, necessitating the use of sheep supplements.

One key aspect to consider when grazing stubble is the energy and protein content of the diet. The value of feed in stubble derives from residual grain and the quantity of green plant material, which may include shot grain and summer weeds. Understanding the variability of feed value for different types of stubble, as well as methods to measure it on your farm, is crucial for ensuring the well-being of your flock.

The updated resource not only provides information on the nutritional requirements of grazing on stubble but also highlights potential health issues that sheep may face. These include grain poisoning, nitrate poisoning, lupinosis, thiamine deficiency, water belly, and worms. It emphasizes the importance of ensuring that sheep have full stomachs before introducing them to a stubble paddock. Alternatively, gradual introduction can be done by limiting grazing time or implementing a cell grazing system.

Furthermore, the resource advises that toxic weeds may emerge following summer rain, presenting a risk to sheep grazing on stubble. In general, stock should be removed from the area after six weeks or when grain and green feed fall below 40 kg per hectare.

By grazing on stubble, sheep owners can not only provide their flocks with nutrition but also reduce stubble loads, which will benefit farmers as they transition into the autumn and winter seasons.

In conclusion, the updated resource from Agriculture Victoria offers valuable tips and insights for sheep owners, ensuring the health and well-being of their flock when grazing on crop stubble. Understanding the nutritional requirements, potential health issues, and proper management techniques is crucial for maintaining a healthy and thriving flock.

FAQ:

1. What is the significance of grazing crop stubble for sheep owners?
Grazing crop stubble can provide valuable nutrition for sheep during the summer and autumn seasons.

2. Why is it important to consider feed quality when grazing stubble?
Feed quality can vary significantly in stubble, and it is crucial to ensure that sheep receive proper nutrition by using supplements if necessary.

3. What aspects of the diet should be considered when grazing stubble?
The energy and protein content of the diet should be taken into account to maintain the health of the flock.

4. What is the value of feed in stubble derived from?
Feed in stubble comes from residual grain and the quantity of green plant material, which may include shot grain and summer weeds.

5. What are some potential health issues that sheep may face when grazing stubble?
Potential health issues include grain poisoning, nitrate poisoning, lupinosis, thiamine deficiency, water belly, and worms.

6. What is the recommended approach for introducing sheep to a stubble paddock?
It is important to ensure that sheep have full stomachs before introducing them to a stubble paddock. Alternatively, gradual introduction can be done by limiting grazing time or implementing a cell grazing system.

7. What should be done if toxic weeds emerge following summer rain?
Stock should be removed from the area after six weeks or when grain and green feed fall below 40 kg per hectare to mitigate the risk to sheep grazing on stubble.

Key Terms and Jargon:
– Grazing stubble: The practice of allowing sheep to feed on the residual material left in a field after a crop has been harvested.
– Feed quality: The nutritional value of the feed available for animals to consume.
– Residual grain: The amount of grain left in the field after harvesting.
– Shot grain: Grains that have been damaged or spoiled.
– Lupinosis: A disease in sheep caused by consuming moldy or spoiled lupins.
– Thiamine deficiency: A lack of thiamine (vitamin B1) in the diet, which can lead to health issues in sheep.
– Water belly: A condition in sheep caused by consuming excessive amounts of water, leading to bloating and other health problems.

Suggested Related Links:
Agriculture Victoria
Sheep farming in Victoria
Sheep feeding strategies