Although widespread, the practice of feeding stubbles hasn’t really got a lot going for it. The major benefit comes from grain on the ground and weeds.
Following harvest there is a decline in the digestibility of unharvested stubble of about 1% per week , with a greater decline if there is summer rain.
It is essential to have a good supply of quality water that can meet the demand of the sheep grazing stubble paddocks. Depending on the weather, the stubble type and the salt content of the water, weaners wll drink up to 7 litres a day and adults, more than this. Troughs in stubble paddocks need regular cleaning so performance is not affected.
CEREAL STUBBLES. Young sheep are unlikely to have weight gains of more than 80 G per head per day. This can be improved with supplementation of 100 to 150 G of lupins per head per day. This can be fed out once a week and spread amongst the stubble or fed out in troughs.
Sheep do much better on barley stubble than other cereals. Baled barley stubble has been shown to be a useful feed for sheep.
Weaner sheep on LUPIN STUBBLES, other LEGUMES and GREEN CANOLA STUBBLES will drink more water than those on cereal stubbles or green feed. Weaners on these stubbles will not travel more than around 6-800 metres from water to graze. This results in overgrazing. Graze further away is barely used so movable water troughs will allow larger paddocks to be grazed more evenly. Legume stubbles are better feed sources for young animals and for ewes before and during joining, I would make Nutri – Lifta available here. Sheep seem to like faba beans better than lupin, just seem to be more palatable. Pea stubbles are generally more fragile than other legumes and stock cannot be left on as long. With Lupin stubbles, care MUST be exercised, if, the number of grains drops below 40 per square metre or there is less than 50% ground cover then weaners will lose weight and run a real risk of LUPINOSIS. If either occurs then weaners must be moved.
If, CANOLA STUBBLES contain green leaf and stem material, they are good feed that is beneficial to weaners and ewes being flushed for joining which often takes place on canola stubble.Once the green colour goes the plant will wilt and die. Stock on such dead stubble will do no better than on on cereal stubble with weight gains seldom over 100 G/hd/day.
I would provide Nutri-Lifta to stock on stubbles or at least EconoMin or Dry Season Blocks.
Following is the minimum no of grains per square meter to have any benefit.;
Faba Bean,20, Chick Pea,50, Field Pea, 50, Lupins, 80, Barley, 250, Wheat &Oats, 280.
Other considerations are in the health area, Canola, nitrate poisoning,pulmonary emphysema,and haemolytic anaemia, Lupins, Lupinosis.Cereals, acidosis, urinary calculi (waterbelly) in rams & wethers, need additional salt to lessen risk.