Innovation in dual-purpose crop technology has seen the proliferation of crop grazing in recent years, particularly in the Riverina where growing winter crops like wheat, barley and canola account for a large percentage of farmland and profitability.
Multiple benefits of grazing crops
Cereal crops are great sources of feed for cattle and sheep during winter, especially for weaners when quality feed is sparse. Crops as a source of fodder are a highly digestible form of protein and energy that can significantly boost production. On top of this, they are generally low in parasite pressure and can play an important role in worm management programs.
Poor mineralisation of crops limits livestock performance
However, livestock grazing crops need to be carefully managed. Common deficiencies in key minerals like magnesium, sodium, calcium and phosphorous prevent livestock from utilising the feed to its full potential. Furthermore, high levels of potassium in crops have an antagonistic effect on magnesium where it interrupts absorption through the rumen wall, which can lead to blood magnesium deficiencies (see fig 1).
Effective mineral supplementation can boost livestock performance on crops
Interestingly, when livestock grazing crops are supplemented with the right mineral supplement, the anti-nutrient factors can be controlled and the production response to balancing minerals in the diet can be exceptional.
Recent studies on livestock grazing dual-purpose cereals highlighted that offering the right feed supplement can boost mineral levels in the diet and significantly improve feed-use-efficiency and liveweight gain.
One Australian study in particular involving young crossbred sheep grazing dual-purpose wheat crops, reported marked liveweight gain responses (30-50%), when grazing was paired with a mineral supplement containing MgO, lime and salt.1
Multiple sources of magnesium for higher availability
At AusFarm Nutrition, we believe that the most effective way to supplement magnesium is to offer a supplement containing multiple sources of magnesium. This is believed to elevate availability, absorption and essentially magnesium status of the animal compared to other common magnesium supplements.
Bovatec to boost livestock performance and rumen health
ANP’s range of green feed supplements are specifically designed to elevate the essential mineral vitamin and trace element status of grazing livestock, promoting greater feed conversion efficiency, immune function and energy metabolism to generate rapid growth. ANP’s green feed supplement range is built with Bovatec® to elevate rumen function and increase liveweight gain. Bovatec has been shown to boost daily weight gains of livestock grazing green feed by up to 14%.2
|StockMins – Crop Grazer Plus||A weatherproof, granular, mineral supplement specifically designed to elevate the performance of sheep grazing cereals and lush green pasture. Contains 6% magnesium from four different sources.|
|StockMins – BoviMag Plus||A weatherproof, granular, mineral supplement specifically designed to elevate the performance of cattle grazing cereals and lush green pasture. Contains 7.1% magnesium from four different sources.|
|StockMins – BoviMag||An antibiotic free, weatherproof, granular, mineral supplement specifically designed to elevate the performance of cattle grazing cereals and lush green pasture. Contains 7.1% magnesium from four different sources.|
For more information about ANP’s crop grazing range contact the ANP team
- H Dove, KG McMullen – Animal Production Science, 2009 – CSIRO Publishing
- Zoetis Data on file.
®Bovatec is a registered product of Zoetis Pty Ltd