A new Gascoyne Catchments Group, small funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare program is running at Bullara Station in the Upper Gascoyne. The project is aiming to improve heifer fertility and calving rates via nutritional ‘flushing’ and the ‘bull effect’. Importantly, these production goals are coupled with land management outcomes by the precise placement of the heifers using Rangelands Self Herding practices.
Landcare with Cows newsletter article
Rangelot Flushing – boosting reproductive performance and managing landscapes
Can we increase reproductive performance of heifers and simultaneously improve landscape management?
The answer is yes, and a new trial with the Gascoyne Catchment Group in Western Australia, at Bullara Station with Tim and Edwina Shallcross, is underway to explore this possibility.
The trial is implementing a procedure called ‘Rangelot Flushing’, which arose from the recent Rangelands Self Herding project that developed a raft of procedures to positively influence grazing distribution, livestock performance and vegetation.
The term ‘rangelotting’ was coined because the approach draws on principles used in rangeland grazing and in feedlotting. ‘Rangelottting’ involves the concentration of grazing pressure and the use of strategic supplementation.
Heifers in the trial are receiving crushed lupin grain from mobile lick feeders for 6 weeks prior to joining. The lick feeders can be adjusted to control the amount of grain being fed to optimise the balance between higher animal productivity and cost.
Lupins are being used as the source of protein, but they are also a readily-available source of energy for the heifers. Lupins provide one of the cheapest sources of protein when expressed as $ per kg of protein.
“Low calving rates of heifers and first-calvers are acknowledged as a major constraint to profitability of pastoral enterprises”, said Dean Revell, of Revell Science who is assisting with the project.
“We are aiming to improve heifer fertility and calving rates via nutritional ‘flushing’ and the ‘bull effect’. Nutritional flushing is achieved by boosting protein intake for a short period of time to increase ovulation. We are combining this targeted supplementation with fenceline contact with bulls.”
During this focussed management window, there is an opportunity to achieve beneficial NRM outcomes as well.
“Land management or land regeneration can be achieved by the precise placement of the heifers using Rangelands Self Herding practices,” said Bruce Maynard, of Stress-Free Stockmanship.
“This allows specific areas to be intensively managed with animal impact to provide the desired level of disturbance and manure fertilisation to initiate a positive change in ecological state.”
Rangelot Flushing, in addition to increased joining percentage and landscape repair, is designed to allow earlier identification of poor performers, speedier genetic and epigenetic improvement, and establishment of behavioural responses that are set strongly for life, allowing for effective Rangelands Self Herding strategies at later times.
The project receives funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program, and additional support through Rangelands NRM and Universal Initiatives.
More information, contact:
Dean Revell | firstname.lastname@example.org | 0408 904 948
Bruce Maynard | email@example.com | 0428 890 110
Tim Shallcross | firstname.lastname@example.org | 08 9942 5938