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Edward & Charles Blackwell – “Corea”, Dunkeld

By May 11, 2012September 4th, 2014Meet Our Clients

Property Background:

  • “Corea” is a family owned property located 50km East of Hamilton and 17km South/East of Dunkeld.
  • Soils -20% heavy black soils (swamp country) and the balance clay over loam (Red-gum country).
  • Pastures are a mixture of phalaris and native grasses on the heavy black soils, and improved ryegrass/phalaris/clover on the clay over loam soils.
  • Self replacing merino sheep, self replacing Hereford cattle, small cropping operation, small trading operation are the key enterprises.

“Corea” Cell Grazing Details:

  • Has been in cell grazing for 3 years.
  • Cell grazed area totals 30 paddocks (300ha).
  • Mature aged cows 3yo+ run on the cells.
  • Up to 300 cows in a mob, generally in a paddock for 2-3days=60-90days rest.
  • Run 2 or 3 mobs of 100-150 cows during joining (Oct-Dec) as rest period decreases as pasture growth rate increases. This aids in bull preservation – 2 bulls to 100 cows.
  • Low cost but effective fencing consisting of 1 wire electric, spring release gates in cell centre and at each end.
  • Cells watered by bore pumping to 30,000gal tank, pressure pump, 2” poly to each 1800L concrete trough.

Soil, livestock and people  improvements at “Corea” due to Cell Grazing:

  • Cell grazing is combined with Low Stress Stockhandling which has resulted in very good temperament in herd and easy low stress stock moves.
  • More perennial grasses have resulted from managing rest appropriately.
  • Changed to spring calving to match animal feed requirements to pasture growth curve which has resulted in no substitute feeding being required.
  • The only supplementary feeding (that pays its way) is in imprint feeding leading up to weaning.
  • Greater water holding capacity of soil (from maintaining litter on the soil surface).
  • Reduced number of mobs, means less labour required and reduced overheads, 1 labour unit runs 10,000 DSE.
  • 100% ground cover all year round means we have all the future requirements to grow even more perennial grasses when soil, temperature and rainfall are at desirable levels.  With 100% litter, we have also protected ourselves against future broadleaf weed invasion.

How cell grazing has improved the business?:

  • 15mins every 2-3days to move large mob!
  • Plan grazing with confidence, destock or up stocking rate as required to match plant growth rate and feed on offer.
  • Utilized large area of heavy country that was previously hard to manage, unsuitable for sheep or cropping.
  • More grass grown now due to ‘rest’ and ‘litter recycling’ rather than having to rely only on responses from fertiliser.
  • 5 inch thunderstorm in Feb resulted in no run-off and soil loss on cell grazed area and perennial grass growth now.  Last summer the whole cell grazing area carried green feed through.

Areas to work on with cell grazing:

  • Improved pastures to get better animal performance?  Possibly spread seed and use the herd effect to work country and renovate pastures.
  • Options of summer crop (rape, turnips, millet etc) in small paddocks with dry feed run off paddocks.
  • Bring more country in to cell grazing system.