GETTING producers the best from their stock was the aim of an SE Prime Livestock Achievers "Sticky Beak Day" on September 26.
Thirty-five producers from the SE and western Victoria participated in the day, which SEPLA chairman Jamie Tidy hailed a success.
"It was a really good day," he told the Herald. "All of the speakers when they were talking, you could hear a pin drop."
The group was joined by speakers such as meat researcher Colin Earl, Total Result Ag's Tom Thorn and SARDI's Janelle Hocking-Edwards.
The group toured properties to the south of Naracoorte, including Andrew Cavill's dairy at South Killanoola and John Mossop's property at Bool Lagoon. Topics covered included using basic feed budgeting to calculate feed requirements to properly finish lambs and using chicory and brassicas as a feed option for year-round quality, which was highlighted at Mr Cavill's property.
"Mr Cavill had extraordinary results in one of the toughest years to produce summer feed, he more than doubled his usual forage production by thinking outside the square," Mr Tidy said.
At Mr Mossop's property Mr Earl spoke about using Multimeat genetics to lift scanning percentages. He said that using rams containing the Booroola gene to lift scanning percentages was more profitable than lowering stocking rates, extra feeding or using drugs.
Mr Earl said Mr Mossop had been able to turn off 40 per cent more lambs using the Multimeats than other maternal genotypes which coupled with his excellent finishing systems showed how much lamb production could be improved.
Multi-meat rams have been commercially available for the past five years and are enabling specialist producers to produce lamb more efficiently and lower their cost of production through producing more lamb using slightly more inputs.
Mr Tidy said the research was showing the opportunity which existed but there still needed to be good management, environment and feed supply to support the ewe carrying the extra lambs.
Using small scale trials use smaller paddocks with more water points, growing quality feed, monitoring and managing pastures and forming good relationships with advisors were the main points taken out of the day.
The field day finished with a special tasting at Smith and Hooper Wrattonbully vineyard where James Freckleton gave insightful commentary on his take on the vineyard industry, which Mr Tidy said drew parallels with the lamb industry and their need to change and adapt to suit the conditions and market.
SEPLA is now affiliated with the MacKillop Farm Management Group to try to meet the needs of producers.
"The MacKillop Farm Management Group network gives us a head start with many croppers being involved with livestock in a big way, or vice versa," Mr Tidy said. "And aside from the farm production focus of the group, it's a great social network and we try and build an element of that in to our field days."
To register interest in any further field days, contact Mr Tidy on 0427 621 944 or email email@example.com or Krysteen McElroy firstname.lastname@example.org.