PROVIDING mixed rations alongside pasture feed can lift meat production, Gippsland farmers were told last week.
Department of Primary Industries' dairy research manager Bill Wales said beef farmers could look to studies to improve their feeding systems.
Dr Wales told the Norwood Agriculture seminar at Ellinbank last week that dairy research has revealed they can increase dry matter intake by providing mixed rations alongside pasture feed.
"There is untapped potential for increasing dry matter intake," Dr Wales said.
"What we have been able to demonstrate in dairy (research) is we have been able to break through the intake barrier, which our feed system prevents. The way we have done that is through providing pasture to cows (along with) daily rations as a mixed ration."
Hugh Kerr, animal nutritionist for Keenan, which manufactures feeder wagons, said about 40 per cent of their mixer wagons worldwide were sold to beef farmers.
He said feed efficiency was more important than intake for the animal and farmers should be looking at lifting feed conversion rates.
"The way you feed your animals has a huge impact on your animal. The physical mix has an effect on results," Mr Kerr said.
He said studies showed that mixing feed rations the same way every day, and feeding consistently could lead to a 7 per cent increase in feed conversion. Creating mixes that will be retained in a digestion system was much more efficient.
Yancowinna Angus farm manager at Inverloch Rob Ewing said they feed their stud cattle with a mixer wagon over winter, as pasture quality could easily drop off in the wetter months.
Mr Ewing said supplement feeding was also used, as they have a fairly high stocking rate, and also to ensure that cattle were getting consistent feed.
"You know what dry matter you are putting out - we put out a silage and grass mix and, being chopped up, it is a lot more palatable," he said.