Key decisions, critical actions and benchmarks
This procedure is about maximising pasture utilisation without compromising pasture cover at critical times. In short, how to make animal demand fit your pasture supply. Getting a good match between animal demand and pasture supply is the basis of turning pasture into product. However, further gains can be made by grazing method and paddock subdivision.
In environments where rainfall and pasture production are more variable between years, improving utilisation is difficult. Greater flexibility to manipulate stock numbers during the year and between years is needed. Monitor (between and within years) pasture supply and the number of stock carried.
At a glance
- Monitor stock and pastures and prepare feed budgets at least three months ahead to manage the balance between pasture supply and the nutritional demands of your sheep.
- Focus on seasonal adjustment of stock numbers to suit the conditions.
- Determine how evenly pasture is being grazed in your paddocks.
- Consider low-cost options to achieve more even grazing by strategic rotational grazing, boxing of mobs or temporary subdivision.
Stocking rate is the major determinant of pasture utilisation and profitability. A conservative stocking rate may be a sound, low risk choice for a sheep enterprise in a variable climate, but it may also be less profitable. Sustainable stocking rates are achieved when animal demand is actively managed to fit pasture supply.