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What options do farmers have with underperforming country? Turning this country into productive land has high costs associated with it. Be it soil amelioration or planting to forage shrubs, there are large opportunity costs involved. Should this country remain minimal inputs, minimal return and should this money be spent on more productive land? Forage shrubs once established can provide up to one third of the energy and protein required to grow adult sheep, providing the inter row is also managed correctly. Forage shrubs can reduce supplementary feeding costs as well as the labour costs associated with feeding and monitoring sheep. Forage shrubs will also provide valuable shade and shelter as well as allow farmers greater flexibility for deferring pasture paddocks and potentially increasing cropping area in favourable years. This fact sheet provides a short introduction on how best to establish integrated native forage shrub systems and describes an economic analysis of incorporating 10-20% of farmland to forage shrubs. This economic study will compare three alternative feeding regimes during a 6 week autumn feed gap period. Feeding regimes (1) Feed lotting (2) Paddock with lick feeders (3) Forage Shrubs.

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