Feeding of supplements in northern Australia can be somewhat challenging due to various factors such as size of properties, number of cattle and accessibility.
Supplementation is also a major cost in running large northern properties and most graziers are very conscious to keep cost under control.
George Booth of Booth Rural is an Anipro Distributor based in Townsville and covers an area north of the Flinders Highway to the southern Gulf and out to Cloncurry and Normanton. Following a timely visit by George to a jackaroo graduation day on a gulf pastoral property, George was asked to quote on feeding Anipro to several mobs of breeders. He was successful in getting this business and then began a rather arduous couple of months.
In order to service the client George had to pull Anipro out of Julia Creek, a 6 hour drive to the gulf property. This required a 1.00am start, six hours driving and a 3 hour period delivering the product. Following this George then had to drive back to Julia Creek, clean the truck, fill up and then get ready to head off again the next morning. It required three similar day’s work to feed the breeders. In the middle of all this George was unlucky enough to lose the top of his right index finger when a tensioning lever (basically a log) slipped off its support and dropped suddenly causing the tensioning wire to snap shut around the gate post. Unfortunately George’s finger was between the gate post and the wire and consequently the wire guillotined the top off his finger. He was air lifted by RFDS to Cairns where he was attended to!! Undeterred George was back on the job a few days later!
The situation on the gulf property was somewhat of a paradigm shift. The manager wanted to lift his breeders as they were drought affected following two failed wet seasons. The cows also had calves at foot. The manager was concerned that as the wet approached bogging and loss of cattle was a significant possibility. As a consequence he requested that the animals be allowed to over-consume the Anipro i.e. somewhat above recommended rates so that they had more energy and could cope better as the wet approached. George initially selected a ratio of 20% sour and later raised this to 30% resulting in cattle consuming about 1 L per head per day.
The overall result was very good with the drought affected cattle lifting through the latter part of the dry season resulting in markedly less bogging. Despite some initial scepticism from upper management, in the final wash up all were very pleased with the result. The lesson here is don’t assume what a grazier wants, ask them what their goal is and adjust intake rates to meet the expectation.