Grazing stubbles is another great example of the synergies between crop and livestock production. Stubbles, when grazed effectively can assist in the growth and maintenance of livestock, during summer, when feed availability and quality is generally limited. In return, grazing livestock help to physically breakdown stubbles to assist with future sowing activities.
Another useful by-product of the winter grain harvest is spilt grain within stubbles. As sheep are very efficient at digesting whole grain, they can make the best use of recently harvested cereal crops cleaning up spilt grain.
Safe use of grazing stubbles
Although spilt grain when paired with an effective source of protein can be great for finishing lambs, this is not recommended by ANP, as there are too many variables and risks involved in making it work efficiently. ANP think that spilt grain in stubbles would be better used getting wethers and dry ewes into good condition for shearing and joining.
Benefits of grazing stubbles for dry stock
- Low worm pressure
- Keep wool clean from burrs and debris
- Spilt grain and unharvested crop can help increase body condition and wool growth
- Standing straw and a protein mineral supplement like StockMins-HiPro can fulfil maintenance*
*The nutritional value of dry feed significantly decreases with each rain event
Beware of acidosis
Although a great source of feed, ad lib access to cereal grain can cause acidosis. Piles of spilt grain should be spread out in the paddock and grazing animals should be offered a buffered mineral supplement like StockMins-Stubble Starter.
StockMins-Stubble Starter is a buffered, high protein, mineral supplement that is specifically designed to be fed to sheep for the first 14 days of grazing new stubbles. StockMins-Stubble Starter is fortified with several effective acid buffers, like sodium bi-carbonate, Acidbuf® and lime to assist in balancing rumen pH in sheep consuming high grain diets.
The inclusion of protein in the form of urea boosts the value of stubble grazing by assisting in fibre digestion and energy utilisation. In fact, it is commonly known that low level protein supplementation with a rumen degradable source of protein, can increase the utilisation of dry feed by up to 30%.
Make the most of unharvested or weather damaged crops
StockMins-Stubble Starter is also the ideal supplement to maximise the use of unharvested or weather damaged cereal crops. Similar to stubble grazing, the additional protein in StockMins-Stubble Starter assists in fibre digestion and utilising of the straw component of the crop, while the highly effective acid buffers assist in stabilising rumen pH and reducing the development of acidosis on high grain diets.
No need for buffers when there’s no grain
After spilt grain has been cleaned up in stubble paddocks, StockMins-HiPro or StockMins-HiPro+Bovatec are ideal supplements to boost protein and assist with efficient dry feed digestion and utilisation. As mentioned above, stubble supplemented with StockMins-HiPro can fulfil maintenance requirements of dry ewes and wethers.