28 MAY 2024

Innovative approaches to cost-effective fodder production

In today's competitive dairy industry, maximising profitability while minimising costs is paramount. Elders Tasmania's Livestock Production Advisor Nathan Saunders discusses how dairy farmers can achieve this balance through innovative approaches to fodder production.

Cost-effective fodder production is essential for dairy farmers looking to optimise their bottom line. By focusing on strategies to reduce input costs and improve efficiency, farmers can enhance their overall profitability.

One key aspect of cost-effective fodder production is the cultivation of high-quality, low-cost feed options. Traditional farming crops such as grazing cereals, brassicas or short term ryegrass, are often viable options for filling these gaps. However supply issues this year are making us look at some alternative crops. Not all crops are suitable for every season or farm condition. Factors such as water availability, soil type, and harvestability all need to be considered when making these decisions.

Leveraging available resources to produce fodder efficiently is another strategy which Nathan recommends. This includes optimizing land use, selecting appropriate crop varieties, and implementing sustainable farming practices to minimise expenses and maximise yield. Consider working on a combination of over-sowing pugged or damaged pastures, increasing dry matter production in a few other paddocks in spring and compound production to help produce a feed wedge or buffer, allowing farmers to drop a desired paddock out of the rotation for summer brassicas, cereals or maize. It's crucial to discuss these options with a local specialist first, to identify potential risks such as grazing compatibility, maturity times, toxins and environmental issues.

Nathan suggests that compounding methods can also be a game-changer for farmers.

Consider adding strategic winter fertilisers and gibberellic acid into the winter activities. Additionally, by carefully assessing the farm's lower performing paddocks and over-sowing them with a fast-growing feed option for 6 to 18 months, can grow 10 to 30 per cent more feed. Doing this across several paddocks helps bridge any feed gaps and ensures cattle have surplus amounts of feed available.

By adopting a proactive approach to fodder production and focusing on cost-efficiency, dairy farmers can enhance their competitiveness and sustainability in the market.

Contact Nathan

Nathan Saunders

Livestock Production Specialist + more
  • Elders Scottsdale
  • + more