Meal feeding was introduced to a batch of 43 bullocks and 37 heifers almost three weeks ago. Any bullock that weighed over 490kg and heifer over 470kg on 30 July was drafted for feeding. At this stage, they are being offered just over 2kg/hd/day. Bullocks will be increased to 3kg/hd/day in the coming week.

In order to avoid excessive poaching of ground around feed troughs in the field, farmer John Hally is running the two batches in each morning, to be fed in the shed. A good network of roadways on the farm allows this to be done quite easily.

The entire job of feeding the two batches takes a little over an hour to complete. However, it has been noticed that feeding can take a little longer the day after cattle are moved to a fresh paddock, as they come in quite full.

Even after three weeks of feeding, cattle are visibly beginning to ‘warm up’. The plan is to weigh them again in three weeks’ time and at that stage, begin to draft the first animals for slaughter.

Meal feeding will commence with the remaining heifers and bullocks in about a fortnight's time, as the aim is to draft as many from grass as possible.

Grass supply

Grass growth has been excellent over the last few weeks. Demand has been lowered slightly with the onset of meal feeding. At the same time, second-cut silage after grass is ready for grazing, so there is an abundance of grass on the farm. One final field will be removed for bales in the coming weeks, so that the farm is not building covers for autumn too quickly.

It can be expected that grass growth will begin to slow down again to a more typical level for the time of year in the coming weeks. If ground conditions hold as they are, or improve slightly, there will be no issues in grazing out any heavier covers over the next month to six weeks.