DROUGHT EASE: Three tips for graziers when restocking herds
WITH good recent rainfall across much of the eastern seaboard, graziers are now looking to restock after the tough drought conditions.
Lockyer Valley Charolais breeder, Ross Sticklen, of Lilydale Charolais, said there were a few factors to consider when restocking.
“Cattle prices are at an highest, so to restock is going to be a huge expense to any cattle operation,” he said.
1. Pasture recovery
The first point Mr Sticklen warns graziers to be cautious of is pasture recovery.
“This will depend largely on your soil type, grass species and the amount of rain the surviving pasture received,” he said.
“We all hope for good, steady, soaking rain after a dry period as heavy falls can wash the exposed topsoil off the fragile paddocks.”
2. Surface water
“Many graziers depend on surface water storage or stock bores, so before restocking, we need to make sure there is an adequate water supply,” Mr Sticklen said.
“The last thing we want to do is to sell stock early because you have exhausted your water supply.”
3. Suitable livestock
Once we are satisfied we have adequate feed and water, we need to source suitable livestock, Mr Sticklen says.
“Don’t be concerned if you have to attend a few sales before you find what you are looking for. It’s important to be patient,” he said.
“You might have a preference for a particular breed that have performed well for you previously. You might be looking for a future breeding herd so will want a bit of quality in what you purchase.”
He said joining age might be important to graziers as they get calves on the ground sooner as opposed to buying weaner heifers that will have to grow out before joining, but again he warned to be patient.
“On the other hand, growing out steers might be your other option. In the end it comes down to price for the article that suits your operation,” he said.