Fairview Redlands LWG Gain Trial
Fairview Final Weights and Presentation
Thursday 27 May 2021
The Central Queensland based Fairview Live Weight Gain Trial concluded at the end of May with the final weighing of the 100 trial steers and subsequent sale of a large proportion of the cattle through the CQLX Special Weaner and Feeder Sale on 31 May.
The trial recorded an average weight gain from the leucaena pastures of 0.68kg per day and a weight gain per hectare of 145kg over the 361 days of the trial. This compared favourably to the control herd grazing on improved pasture of 0.56kg and 107kg per hectare.
Trial host Bruce Mayne believes the comparisons with the improved pasture weight gains were not as significant as expected due to the inclusion of ponded pastures in the grass only trial and the higher quality feed provided by the hymenachne and para grass.
“The overall weight gains demonstrated by the cattle on leucaena have certainly shown that the inclusion of leucaena can significantly improve a property’s carrying capacity and pasture quality,” he said.
“Achieving weight gains of 246 kg per year in relatively poor coastal country is quite impressive.”
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Fairview Field Day
Saturday 20 February 2021
The threat of imminent storms and showers could not dull the enthusiasm of more than 100 graziers, agronomists, service providers and extension staff who attended the ‘Fairview Leucaena Field Day’ on Saturday 20 February.
During the past nine months, field day hosts Bruce and Lucinda Mayne of ‘Fairview’ Calliope have agisted 100 head of cattle from nearby ‘coastal’ properties on both their native grass pasture paddocks and their leucaena and sown grass pasture paddocks as part of a trial to compare the live weight gain from leucaena and native grass pastures. The cattle were provided by Calliope graziers Philip and Claire Mann of Wycheproof, Edward and Kara Quinn of Voewood and Will and Kate Wilson of Calliope Station.
The trial is a collaboration between Fairview, DAF Rockhampton, Agricultural and Pasture Consultant Ross Newman, The Leucaena Network, Qld Beef Consultancy and Nutrien. Cattle were inducted into the trial on the 29 May 2020 and over the 262 days until 15 February 2021, the average daily weight gain for steers grazing the leucaena and signal grass pastures was 0.653 kilograms per head per day. The steers grazing native pastures gained 0.440 kilograms per head per day. At 15 February 2021, the steers on the leucaena were 59 kg heavier than those on the native grass pasture (450 kg v 391 kg).
The competition to guess the weight on one particularly leucaena-fed steer was hot however in the end it was Billy Dunne of ‘Tarcoola’ Dingo who guessed the correct weight at 465kg. It’s also pleasing to note that DAF’s young guns also know their beef with Matthew Richardson guessing 464kg and Ryan Honor electing for 463kg.
Attendees at the Field Day were able to view the trial cattle and hear first-hand about the weight gains from DAF’s Mick Sullivan and Kylie Hopkins. Bruce Mayne and Ross Newman hosted a bus tour to view the leucaena paddocks and the innovative ways in which Bruce and Lucinda are transforming some of Fairview’s more marginal country with leucaena. Whilst the forecast rain (although not enough of it!!) did shorten the paddock and cattle yards visits, many attendees stayed on for an early bbq dinner and to speak about all things leucaena.
Thanks to all who attended and were involved in the day! Looking forward to the next one!
In the beginning.....
As experienced Leucaena producers and Redlands seed growers, Bruce and Lucinda Mayne know the improved cattle live weight gains they have been able to achieve from Leucaena in the Carnarvon region of Central Queensland over the past 20 years. That is why Bruce and Lucinda are now excited to be able to partner with The Leucaena Network, DAF, Nutrien, McKinlay Cattle and Land and agronomist Ross Newman to demonstrate the weight gains that could be achieved by coastal bred cattle, in coastal conditions, through a new grazing trial at ‘Fairview’ Calliope.
Three graziers from the region have provided a total of one hundred weaner steers of which 80 will be grazed on Fairview’s Redlands Leucaena plantings for a period of twelve months. The Leucaena has inter-row pastures of Signal grass. The remaining 20 head will be run for twelve months on mainly native grass pastures and Seca stylo with Hymanacne available around a large lagoon. Cattle on the grass only pastures will be supplemented with dry season protein.
Cattle for the trial were generously provided by Ed and Kara Quinn of ‘Voewood’; Phillip and Clare Mann of ‘Wycheproof’ and Will and Kate Wilson of ‘Calliope Station’.
The trial will compare live weight gains every eight weeks during the coming dry season until October and then monthly during the growing season from November to May. Feed availability, diet quality and the balance of Leucaena and pasture consumed will be assessed periodically throughout the trial.
Bruce Mayne believes the trial will showcase the potential weight gains of cattle in an area that was not previously suitable for Leucaena.
“Redlands really has been a game-changer for the grazing industry in Northern coastal areas,” he said.
Previously Leucaena planted in coastal areas with high humidity and higher rainfall would have been periodically decimated by Psylids, greatly reducing the feed available to cattle and the viability and profitability of the plantings.
“The Redlands variety has opened up vast areas to incorporating Leucaena in grazing systems across Northern Australia however we are only just starting to get some data on how coastal raised cattle will do on Leucaena in these coastal conditions, particularly those here in Central Queensland.”
Bruce and Lucinda’s property ‘Bandana’ in the Carnarvon region has been able to regularly achieve weight gains of over 250kg per annum and Bruce is very hopeful that those weight gains will be reflected in this trial.
“We have a range of cattle breeds, from different graziers taking part in the trial and the ‘control’ mob of 20 head that will graze on the standard, coastal pastures for comparison.”
The Fairview trial will conclude with the sale of the cattle at the CQLX 2021 Special Weaner and Feeder Sale in June 2021.
Ongoing results of the trial will be presented at field days at ‘Fairview’ in the latter half of 2020 and prior to the finalisation of the trial.