The feedbase management theme addressed the capacity of a mixed farming business to match feed supply with livestock demand. Investigations and extension activities were built on the examination of a feed budget and identifying:
The feed requirements of livestock at different times of year
The feed that is likely to be available at different times of year
The alternatives available to manage the gaps (and their relative costs).
Grazing cereals provided an opportunity to utilise early vegetative growth for animal production. Extensive trialling was conducted to develop ‘rules’ to guide the grazing of crops while aiming to preserve grain yield. Grazing stubbles was also re-examined.
There was also a focus on pastures, exploring the balance of annual and perennial species that complemented a cropping operation. Emphasis was placed on the use of lucerne, sub-tropical grasses and fodder shrubs such as saltbush and tagasaste. Pasture cropping was also explored.