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Old 16-11-2011, 05:43 AM
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Kelly Kelly is offline
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Charters towers
Posts: 453
Default Blanncourt Station Georgetown field day

A recent field day held at Glen and Cheryl Connolly's Blanncourt Station, Georgetown, involved three projects with the Northern DEEDI Beef Team which until recently was based at the Kairi Research Station.

The Northern Grazing Systems project is based on building business resilience in a highly variable climate by establishing good water distribution to allow even utilisation of all your properties pastures.

It also involves managing safe stocking rates to handle good and bad seasons and the use of wet season spelling and fire to rehabilitate overgrazed pastures.

The Climate Clever Beef project involves land and herd management and their impact on productivity, economic returns and gas emissions with case studies and best practise examples.

The Savannah Plan researched land and pasture management, improved breeder productivity; wet and dry season supplementation, pasture improvement, weaner management and nutrition, silage growing and production feeding and marketing.

Glen and Cheryl Connolly have been running a breeder operation on the 21,244ha Blanncourt which experiences 800mm a year rainfall. The operation involves high grade Brahman cattle and is currently introducing Charolais bulls into the herd.

They market cattle to the live export and store markets or background at home then custom feedlot in Central Queensland to sell to Southern Queensland markets depending on economics at the time.

The property supports about 1100ha of improved pasture mainly buffel, urochloa, stylos, butterfly pea and grows 800 1200 tonnes of forage sorghum silage per year on the Gilbert River alluvial country for backgrounding steers and cull heifers.

Glen and Cheryl purchased Blanncourt in 1996 with 2200 breeders and soon realised the breeder paddock was always short of pasture towards the end of the dry season. Consequently, breeder numbers were reduced to 1100 cows over four to five years.

This resulted in improved weaning rates and an increase in weaner numbers.

With the establishment of improved pastures the breeder herd is now up to 1600 head 1100 head of mature breeders on the southern side of the Gilbert and 500 first and second calf heifers on the north side of river.

The increase was made possible due to the increased area of improved pastures and the excess feed that is now available with steers and cull heifers being sent away for feedlotting. All cattle are fed wet season phosphorus and dry season protein supplement.

Cows are mustered in May and September for weaning and processing and another muster is done in December for processing calves only, no weaners are removed.

The May muster removes calves that were processed in the previous September December musters and any new calves are returned to their mothers. Weaners removed are usually over 120kg and are kept in yards for five days and fed sorghum or buffel hay. Every day they are worked through gates and yards sometimes with the dogs.

Weaners are then let out onto improved pastures and supplemented with M8U and yarded every night. Some days the weaners are also yarded during the day and let out after an hour or so and then yarded again at night.

If weaners are settled after two to three weeks they are separated into males, which go into the steer paddock which has improved pasture and supplemented with M8U until storms in December, and the females are split into replacement heifers and culls and put onto improved pastures and M8U until the storms in December.

The September weaning round removes all weaners processed in May. Any little weaners (less than 100kg) doing it tough are removed for special treatment in their own paddock. They are fed high protein pellets every day, graze in a small paddock with improved pastures and have access to sorghum silage.

"A key management consideration for our property is having plenty of available pasture for all classes of cattle," Mr Connolly said.
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