NSW Department of Primary Industries spokeswoman Belinda Hackney revealed yesterday that people on the land were slowly turning to livestock as their preferred method of income.
She told the Central Western Daily while crop prices continued to tumble, livestock prices remained competitive, hence the shift in preference.
“Livestock returns in the last few years relative to crop returns have been a lot greater,” she said.
“There’s been more of a move back towards livestock areas, so there’s a real need to brush up on pasture management skills.”
And yesterday more than 50 farmers took the opportunity to do just that as part of an understanding and improving your grazing system seminar in Orange.
Under the tutelage of internationally renowned grazing lands consultant Jim Gerrish, participants got a much better indication of how they could improve their profitability.
Mr Gerrish taught farmers five key ingredients - stocking right, stock density, post-grazing residual, intake and use and recovery.
“Most farmers think in terms of pasture only feeding the livestock, but the pasture feeds the pasture, the pasture feeds the soil, then the pasture feeds the livestock,” he said.
“And when you put the perspective into that order, it will radically change the productivity of your landscape and the profitability of your business.”
It was a simple message from Mr Gerrish, but one which Mrs Hackney backed. She said farmers who took part in the seminar were in good stead if they followed Mr Gerrish’s advice.
“People focus on livestock system and not on actually what contributes to the productivity of that livestock system,” she said.
“An animal can only express its maximum genetic potential if what it’s being fed is the right quality and the right quantity and produced at the right time.”
“Concepts are generally quite simple, but it’s not always easy for people to implement them because it requires that shift from the pure focus on livestock production system to actually focusing on what contributes to livestock production.”