NovaChem > Industry News > 2020 > Fast-acting, efficient & cost-effective – the case for ProGibb SG this spring

Fast-acting, efficient & cost-effective – the case for ProGibb SG this spring

Published on 01/07/2020

This is a very likely outcome for farmers whose pastures were thinned out in the 2020 drought. Several options are available to help them restore some level of feed security and continuity. One in particular, however, has the distinct advantage of being relatively fast-acting, efficient and cost-effective. If your customers believe applying ProGibbSG to their paddocks after the first grazing round of the season is too complicated or fiddly, this spring is the one to convince them otherwise.

So advises Cynthia Christie, technical specialist for Nufarm, who says getting in early with the plant growth regulator must be considered as part of any plan to help customers farm their way out of extreme drought. In most regions it’s still too cold straight after calving to take paddocks out of rotation and sow new grass or crops that will help balance the feed budget later in the year. Bought in supplement, meantime, is hard to source; it will be expensive this spring, and quality of some fodder may be lacking, meaning any nutritional shortfalls will have to be compensated for somehow. All of which makes the coming season unusually challenging feed-wise, to the point where doing things differently may be the only way to keep animals well fed. 

One tactic is to apply ProGibb SG plus Contact Xcel to all paddocks after the first round, then select paddocks with the best potential growth response for another application after the second round. On paper, being more discerning with paddock selection would be preferable in a ‘normal’ spring, because that would give the best economic return on a c per kg DM basis. But when the cupboard is bare, any grass is good grass. 

“You will get a response from damaged pastures,” Christie says. “We’ve done trials on areas badly damaged by grass grub, and seen a 45 per cent increase in dry matter growth. It’s not a big volume when you’re starting from very little, or when you’re comparing it to the response from dense, healthy pastures, but let’s face it, every bit counts.”

Historically, Christie says, there has been a bit of pushback from farmers about putting ProGibb on after the first round. “They’re still calving, their mobs of cows are quite small, and the logistics of spraying after g
razing do become more complicated. But when there’s no buffer in the system,when feed supply has been disrupted as badly as it has been this year, ProGibb can give them extra grass at the start of lactation that simply otherwise won’t be there.” And there is room for flexibility in application timings. “We always advise getting it on zero to three days after grazing. But if they can’t manage that turnaround, they can go out to five days. By then they should have enough area grazed to make it worth getting the sprayer in.”

The best way to quantify financial benefits of an early application to all paddocks will be to take a whole farm approach, based on the cost of extra DM grown across the entire property. “If they start trying to work out how much it’s costing them per kg of DM per paddock,it will get quite complicated, quite quickly. In reality, this season it’s the cost of all DM that matters.” 

Another factor in ProGibb’s favour – particularly in light of the proposed synthetic nitrogen cap of 190 kg per ha in the government’s recent Action for Freshwater package – is its ability to utilise existing available soil N toproduce more DM per ha. “This is going to become increasingly important as farmers weigh up their choices in the future,” Christie says. 

ProGibb SG plus Contact Xcel, applied within five days of grazing, increases grass growth by 30-60 per cent dry matter per ha within three weeks of application with no loss of feed quality.

For more detail, contact your Nufarm territory manager.

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