High dairy demand drives more short season crops

Shift in production: Fourth generation farmer Thomas Brook, pictured in a crop of barley ready for harvest, has shifted to shorter cycle pasture production to feed his family’s dairy herd.AN increase in dairy demand and a decrease in dairy farms is driving a shift to more short season feed production to supplement grazing in Scenic Rim.
Nanjing Night Net

The region is deeply rooted in the dairy industry – in old times many families had a small dairy farm and fed their herds through long-term grazing legumes like lucerne.

Some farmers still use the traditional long-term cropping method, but the use of short-term crops like barley, corn and rye for silage and baling is on the rise.

The family of fourth generation Round Mountain feed producer Thomas Brook, 18, shifted towards supplementing grazing by using more short-term crops three years ago.

They produce barley, corn and rye at their Round Mountain farm which they then truck to their farm at Boyland to feed their herd of 230.

Mr Brook said it was about being able to produce more milk.

“It’s just expanding and everyone’s trying to get milk out of cows – the old school farmers were making more butter fat but we’ve got to feed a bigger world so the demand for milk is there,” he said.

“There’s no money in it – we’ve just got to do this to be able to get milk and a larger volume of milk to meet demand – if prices kept going up and demand kept going up we’d be on top.”

He said it helped with certainty about feed.

“We grow more seasonal now whereas back in the old days they would’ve grown a lot of lucerne – you’d get five or six years out of that – now it’s about having more bulk,” he said.

“Feed in the pit is like money in the bank – it’s the advantage you’ve always got feed stored,” he said.

“We’ve gone to a TMR ration and we’re still grazing so the cows are still getting two grazes of rye grass out there.”

Beaudesert Elders rural sales representative Brendan Magee, who also volunteers as a judge in the Beaudesert Show pasture and field competition, said the shift was growing.

“There’s a move away from the perennial legumes and brassicas to the cereals through winter and the corn through summer, we’re seeing more silage and less grazing,” he said.

“We’re looking at adding a cereal class and a corn silage class to the pasture and field competition at the show next year because we need to change with the times to reflect that change in production.”

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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