Sprint, BMR Octane perfect summer feed options for Wagyu farmer
October 3, 2019
A Wagyu farmer in northeast Victoria has found the perfect source of summer feed in his quest to address the herd’s decrease in production when pasture growth slows down.
Thomas Giltrap, who runs Giltrap Pastoral at Mitta Mitta with partner Bonnie and parents Hugh and Judy, said planting Sprint and BMR Octane forage sorghum in November and grazing it through to March gave the herd a much-needed boost to their conditioning.
“Dad used to grow a bit of forage sorghum in the past for dairy cattle, but he transitioned out of dairying four years ago and we were just relying on pastures of ryegrass and clover during the summer months,” Mr Giltrap said.
“In the hotter months as the pastures shut down, the cows weren’t putting on much weight, so Sprint and Octane made a big difference.”
Mr Giltrap was topping and strip grazing across seven plots totalling 12 hectares and putting the cattle through their on-farm computerised scales regularly to check their progress.
“We had 180 head on seven days of fodder and were seeing an average of 0.9kg/ha/day weight gain, sometimes climbing to 1.3kg.
“As soon as it gets cold in the autumn, sorghum shuts down. Our last grazing was in March, but we probably could’ve gone longer because autumn was milder than usual here.”
The family have 280ha of picturesque land in addition to leased country and the Mitta Mitta River running through their property means they can be self-sufficient.
“There were two weeks of 40-plus temperatures in January, so we had to keep the flood irrigation up to the forage.
“The other benefit of forage sorghum is that it takes half as long to irrigate compared to pasture.
“We have thought about growing crops like corn, and some farmers do around here, but our place isn’t really conducive to cropping.”
Mr Giltrap said in light of the 2018-19 summer forage success, he is planning to run the program again.
“We’ve been really happy with Sprint and Octane because it’s cost effective and fills the feed gap.
“I’ve already organised the paddocks we’re going to use later in the year.”