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Supplemented wheat grains provides low cost solution for improving cattle liveweight

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article image Cattle liveweight improves with supplemented wheat grains
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A new research provides evidence that cattle grazing on cereals can record a 25 per cent increase in liveweight when offered supplements.

A similar research study was carried out in sheep grazing forage wheat, however, the response in cattle previously received little validation.

More recently, two Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC)-supported research were conducted where it investigated cattle response to these supplements when grazing wheat in the northern cropping region.

The research compared two mobs of yearling Angus and Angus-cross steers in side-by-side paddocks. One paddock was supplemented with a mix of Causmag Magnesium Oxide (MgO):Salt (NaCl) and cracked grain at an allowance of 140 grams per head, per  day. The second paddock received no supplements.

The research recorded a 25 per cent increase in average steer liveweight gains across the supplemented herd. From this result, it can be said that supplementing stock grazing on cereals is a sound investment. It is also a low cost option for increasing liveweight gain for stock grazing on wheat.

The MgO supplied by Causmag International prevents grass tetany in dairy cattle. According to Causmag, its MgO derives from high purity natural magnesites, which are cryptocrystalline with small crystallite size, resulting in high density and very high purity.

From this latest research, it has been suggested that growers should provide stock with a mixture of 1:1 Causmag (MgO):Salt (NaCl) at an allowance of 20 grams/head/day for sheep and 140g/head/day for cattle.

According to CSIRO farming systems research scientist, Dr Lindsay Bell, winter cereals are an important winter feed supply in northern mixed crop-livestock production systems, It can be used as dedicated forage crops, dual-purpose crops or sacrificial grazing of poor grain crops.

Apart from the proven MgO:NaCl mixture, it can be said that the quality of winter grains is also an important factor where animal feed and supplement is concerned.

Winter cereals or grains provide a valuable feed for stock during winter when crop pasture growth is at its slowest. 

According to the NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI), profitable winter cereal growing demands higher production per unit area at lower cost per unit of production.  Economic adoption or new or improved technology, and by adopting best management practices is the key factor in increasing grain yields.

DPI also emphasises the importance of choosing the most suitable variety for each paddock and sowing time and matching this to available markets. 

Photo: a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from jon_foto's Flickr photo stream.

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