Farmers must cut out the crop

26 Jul, 2001 07:12 AM
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FARMERS with entire cropping operations could make more money by cutting back on crops and running some sheep.

This was especially valid for farms that still had livestock infrastructure in place, according to Geraldton-based Agrarian Management consultant Paul McKenzie.

Addressing the recent Wesfarmers Landmark wool and livestock forum at Mingenew, Mr McKenzie said running "100pc crops" was not a long-term strategy due to the problem of herbicide resistance.

"I would say many farmers with 80pc crops would be just as profitable as those running at 100pc," he said.

Mr McKenzie said that depending on soil status, it could more profitable to graze sheep than to just include a legume phase during crop rotation.

He provided a comparison between sheep and lupins at the forum.

Mr McKenzie said most farmers knew which part of the farm provided the highest and lowest yielding crops.

He said pastures and crops could not be viewed independently in terms of ryegrass and radish resistance, better controlled by grazing than legume cropping.

Important prerequisites for also running sheep included having a profitable grazing pasture and an acceptable stocking rate.

Lambing percentages also needed to be more than 85pc.

"Increasing lambing percentages is possibly one of the best ways of increasing profitability," he said.

"It is possible to increase lambing percentages by 1-2pc a year".

He said the farmers who had livestock infrastructure in place as well as using a legume rotational pasture had an easier decision on whether they wanted to make some extra money.

"I think the opportunity is there for astute people to get some pretty good money from sheep," he said.

Mr McKenzie advised farmers to get their pasture and pasture management in place before buying sheep.

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