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Growing Feed for the Herd

Growing, grazing and conserving feed is fundamental to the management of most dairy farms in Australia, particularly in seasons where bought-in feed costs are high. Good management of home grown feed to optimise production and quality is an essential management strategy to reduce reliance on bought-in feed and exposure to inflated fodder and grain prices.

There are several different species of pasture and crops grown on farms across the dairy farming regions of Australia, with the choice of crop or pasture grown depending on many variables. Environmental factors influencing this decision include rainfall, rainfall distribution throughout the year, irrigation availability, soil type, climate, season and temperatures. Other considerations include the class of stock being fed, the length of the feed gap, the specific nutrient profile of the crop or pasture and the availability of farm infrastructure to conserve, store and feed out the crop or pasture grown or conserved.

Recent seasons have brought more extreme weather events with many regions suffering from drought conditions at various times over the last few years, and so the management of home grown feed has become even more challenging on many Australian dairy farms.

Information on the agronomic practices recommended to optimise the quality and yield of several common species of pastures and forage crops is outlined in this section.


Variable rate farm irrigation is a technology that can have great benefits on some farms. For more broad information, visit Dairy Australia's website now.

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