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Phosphorus – the time to act is now

04 November 2021
Meat & Livestock Australia

For many regions in northern Australia, phosphorus (P) deficiency is a serious nutritional issue for beef herds and can cause major losses in productivity and profitability.

We know there is no silver bullet to solve our production challenges in northern Australia, but phosphorus supplementation comes pretty close.

Research equals results

Often, we look for a sophisticated, complex or highly technical solution to a problem, but P supplementation is one of those solutions that is reasonably simple to implement (and we’re exploring ways to make it even more so).

Research demonstrates that adequate phosphorus can:

  • increase birth weights by 6–12%
  • increase weaning rates by 15–30%
  • increase breeder cow liveweights by up to 130kg
  • reduce breeder mortality rates by 15–50%.

These benefits combined return over $5 in extra value for every $1 spent on P supplementation.

Consistent results from trials in many diverse geographical areas have reliably demonstrated that phosphorus supplementation is a major contributor to muscle and bone health, essential for metabolism and particularly important for improving cattle growth, health and milk production. It is especially important to maintain feed intake during the key grass growing season when protein and energy needs can be met.

Leading up to the wet season is one of the key times to ensure we understand and respond to our phosphorus supplementation needs – the time to act is now.

Phosphorus mail-out

MLA developed a phosphorus pack to provide research-based information on the benefits of phosphorus and ways to improve herd performance with the right supplementation strategy.

The pack contains an eight-page guide to phosphorus and a flyer outlining the range of practical resources, tools, and programs we offer to help red meat producers identify and effectively manage P deficiency. The pack was mailed to more than 10,000 producers across northern Australia in October.

Ask the expert

We are currently developing a suite of online resources where producers, advisors and agents can contact MLA to ‘ask an expert’ their questions about phosphorus supplementation. Keep an eye on the phosphorus webpage in the coming weeks for more information.

TheCattleSite News Desk



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