FATTENING UP: Kooralgin producer Francis Kruger.
FATTENING UP: Kooralgin producer Francis Kruger. Rhiannon Tuffield

Producer tries hand at fodder

FRANCIS Kruger is a producer who relied solely on rain up until recently, but the Kooralgin farmer has recently discovered the power of fodder, and how it can boost his herd.

Mr Kruger has been in the business for the majority of his life, having grown up on a farm.

The second-generation farmer was at the Coolabunia fat and store sale on Tuesday to sell his steers.

He and his wife Wendy run the Charbray cross steer operation just outside of Yarraman.

The pair began the experiment with barley fodder just over one month ago and have already seen a change in their herd.

"I normally buy store cattle just to fatten them up and sell them to the works, but we're on one of those fodder units at the moment and decided to sprout the barley and feed them that,” Mr Kruger said.

"I've only had it for a little while and I've just put the stock on them about 60 days ago, and they have really come away real well.”

The 14 steers fetched an average of $2.70, which Mr Kruger said had come back off a higher price.

Mr Kruger said he was happy with the return for his cattle, but the real results would show in the next herd to go to sale.

"They're certainly putting on the weight, but my next line will tell the story,” he said.

"We wanted to experiment because of the weight gain that you can get, and, yeah, just to see if we could turn "You'll put on a pretty good weight gain, and we should be able to turn them over in about 60-90 days, so it's a quicker turnover.”

High grain prices and drought had, in the past, driven up the interest in alternative feeds, and sprouting barley for fodder has recently become an attractive solution for producers.

The sprouting of fodder originates back to the 1600s, but modern producers have adapted the technique to improve their cattle fin a short amount of time.

The mineral and vitamin levels of sprouted barley are significantly increased over those in grain and are absorbed more efficiently, providing a good supply of vitamins A, E, C and B complex.

There was shorter supply at the saleyards this week.