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After a lengthy wet season, we are surrounded by lush, green pastures. However, abundant growth does not always mean your pastures are delivering the nutrients your livestock need to achieve the best results.  

Understanding Your Pastures & Growth Phases 

Throughout each growth phase, the actual protein content in your grass can vary. Understanding the growth phases of your pastures can help inform your livestock supplementation program and support animal productivity.  

There are four key growth phases: 

PHASE 1 – New Growth: Fresh, but not necessarily high in protein. 

PHASE 2 – Vegetative Growth: Nearing the end of this stage is the best time for grazing, as protein levels are usually optimal. 

PHASE 3 – Flowering and Seeding: Optimal for grazing, but protein levels may start to decline nearing the end. 

PHASE 4 – Dormant Phase: This is when the pastures dry up, or ‘hay off’ and protein content diminishes as it moves to the roots. 

Source: Meat and Livestock Australia (2024)

When will my livestock get the most out of my pastures?  

The most ideal period to graze is between the end of Phase 2 and Phase 3. This is when pasture protein levels are most optimum and likely to have the most positive impact on animal production.   

It is important, however, not to overgraze or overstock paddocks before the pastures dry off completely. As pastures begin to dry off the protein moves back down to the roots and the leftover leaf material is lower in protein and nutrients- decreasing production.  

 

Supplementing for Optimal Production Results 

The tendency can often be to wait until pastures completely dry off after the wet season before reintroducing supplementation programs. This can often be too late – and can lead to you using supplementing to address a dip in your livestock consistency versus to maintain or increase optimal specs, all year round.  

 As early as Phase 3, as pastures reach maturity, protein in your grass can start declining. Digestibility, leaf to stem ratio and nitrogen can also dip. As we transition into the dry season, pastures are entering the Dormant Phase and both protein levels and pasture quality have diminished. By this time, the decline in pasture quality can affect animal performance and production levels*.  

To combat this, it is essential to begin supplementing to boost protein. Depending on your production goals, protein supplementation can be maintained all year round (for production feeding) or re-introduced at the end of Phase 3 (near the end of wet season).  

Our supplements such as uPRO Orange and uPRO Orange High Phosphorus provide missing nutrients in grazing pastures to boost protein and production levels during the dry season, in low protein grazing situations, and frosts. Supplementing with these products via your on-farm water infrastructure can help achieve year-round consistency in animal body weight, score, condition, and well-being and help you meet liveweight goals faster.  

 

*Information sourced from Meat & Livestock Australia;  (https://www.mla.com.au/research-and-development/Grazing-pasture-management/native-pasture/pasture-growth/

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