The sound of hundreds of cattle in the early morning, raising a cloud of dust as the distinctive black of Wagyu weaners descends on Australian Agriculture Company’s Goonoo Station, 65km west of Emerald in central Queensland, heralds the start of forage grazing for backgrounding.
The 200 hectares of irrigated hay paddocks and a further 800 hectares of dryland will be their home for the next few months before entry into the feedlot. The highly prized Wagyu beef requires attention to detail to achieve the very best marbling outcomes, which means backgrounding on high quality forage from a starting point of around 200kg to a feedlot entry weight of around 280kg.
The principal staple is forage sorghum, a perfect choice for intense grazing providing high quality feed and loads of it. Its natural habit of tillering means that several cuts can be taken providing further forage as the season progresses.
For farm manager, Peter Winton, the Revolution BMR forage Sorghum from Barenbrug Australia ticks all the boxes for his needs to feed those hungry Wagyu weaners.
The Revolution BMR forage sorghum is quick to establish and hardy and tolerates intense grazing with fine stems and low prussic acid. Planted at the beginning of the wet season, it will see the cattle through the summer months. A cross between BMR sorghum and sudan sorghum, Revolution BMR is well suited to regions of 350mm+ rainfall across most soil types that is slightly acidic.
“We are fortunate here at Goonoo Station to have the feedlot as part of the property, as I can use manure from there to be the fertiliser for our crops, I don’t use urea at all,” said Peter. “With a soil activator over the manure, it enables the forage sorghum to utilise the nutrients from the manure – I don’t need to add anything else. From there, as long as we have had good summer rains, Revolution will thrive.”
If the rains are good, Peter will plant on dryland at 6kg per hectare on average, stepping it up to 12kg/Ha. With its natural tillering habit, Peter can cut Revolution twice to produce hay for the feedlot and other AACo properties if needed. Last season, the first cut produced 6 tonne per hectare, the second cut came in at 9 tonne/Ha. The harvested forage sorghum is then milled to mix in with the proprietary feed mix that AACo have developed for Wagyu in the feedlot.
“For this operation, the beauty of Revolution BMR, is its versatility and what can be done with it. It can be extensively grazed, bailed and turned into silage and stored in a pit. There are not many forage sorghums that can give three different methods of feed,” said Barenbrug central Queensland territory manager, Kate Ludwig.
“Peter gets enough forage for backgrounding and an end product to supply the feedlot, which means they are totally self-sufficient, they don’t need to buy anything in. Nor do they need to add any other inputs beyond the manure. Even in drought – Goonoo Station can provide enough for their forage needs with Revolution BMR.”
Revolution BMR bales AACo.jpg: AACo harvest Barenbrug’s forage sorghum for hay for the Goonoo feedlot.