Field Day 2008

27 November 2008

Successful Open Day at Woonallee
 
A gathering of approximately 70 people attended the Baker family’s Woonallee open day at Furner last Friday. Tom, Lizzy and Marg Baker’s run of  Simmental bulls coming up for sale in February were on display, allowing past and prospective clients an opportunity to cast an early eye over the offering.
 
With Lachlan Day as over judge; a judging competition was run on 8 of these bulls, with sponsors Coopers Animal Health providing product prizes, along with buying credits from Woonallee at their next sale. These were won by Shirley Baker as winner and Regan Burrow as runner-up.
 
Special guest speaker was Mr Rick White, Technical Director for Livestock Central. Livestock Central, in conjunction with Elders delivers the ELMS and Red Star programs. Mr White spoke specifically on advantages of early weaning of young cattle, a program that has been adapted by Woonallee this year.
 
The big advantages of the program as outlined by Mr White were feed efficiency, with feed savings of around 40%, future breeding efficiency of the cows and less respiratory diseases in the calves.
 
The basis of the feeding strategy is to get the calves over the stress of weaning by feeding a supplementary ration that stimulates their rumen. This involves 4 to 5 days in yards and then 3 weeks on the ration enabling calves at approximately 7 months of age and 150kgs body weight to be successfully weaned.
 
“Through this system the Charlton feedlot has improved their feed conversion ratio from 7.5 to 8.5kgs of feed for 1kg of bodyweight down to 6 to 1. When you consider a weaner will eat one tonne of feed over 70 days, this is a huge saving,” Mr White said.
 
Also in attendance was Gary Glasson, ELMS co-ordinator for the south east and western Victoria, based at Keith and Heidi Sutherland, based at Naracoorte. They are the local area staff who can advise cattle producers on the advantages of the system and how it can work for them.