Grazing cattle on dual purpose crops-managing health risks

Jeff McCormick, Paul Cusack

Research output: Book chapter/Published conference paperConference paperpeer-review


The use of dual purpose crops has been well established across the mixed farming zone for more than a decade. Commonly, grazing has occurred with sheep enterprises and has dramatically changed the feed budget on mixed farms, significantly reducing the winter feed gap. Research and uptake of dual purpose crops has occurred primarily with sheep. In the mixed farming zone, sheep are the dominant livestock enterprise. Greater use of dual purpose crops on farms by sheep is unlikely and therefore growers are missing out on utilising the potential of large amounts of forage production. This is because at the time of grazing (May-July) it is common that ewes are pregnant or have recently lambed. There is limited market for young sheep for a grower to expand and respond to large amounts of feed that might be available. In comparison, at that time of year there are often a significant number of young cattle requiring feed either in the saleyards or being hand fed on grazing properties. Research conducted on dual purpose crops with cattle grazing has demonstrated high cattle liveweight gains, with the practice generally safe to livestock. Commercially, cattle have been grazed on wheat and canola dual purpose crops, but there have been some examples of poor cattle health outcomes.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationGrains Research Update
Publication statusPublished - 2021

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