October 23, 2013
A recent tour of pastures in the Trangie district challenged more than 20 local producers to modify management on their properties according to NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) development officer, Trudie Atkinson.
“The Grassland Society of NSW Pasture Update showcased local properties where innovative management has lifted pasture quality and quantity, allowing producers to boost livestock production and farm sustainability,” Ms Atkinson said.
“The spring tour of ‘Dunnield’ drew positive responses from participants who were able to see how Peter and Fiona Howe have doubled their potential carrying capacity by sowing a third of the property to tropical perennial grasses.”
Ms Atkinson said the Howes made the decision to maintain conservative stocking rates, increasing the rate by just 30 per cent, as a buffer against seasonal variability.
“The Howes have pushed production by harvesting tropical grasses for hay which opens the pasture sward and encourages the germination and growth of valuable annual legumes,” she said.
Research at the Trangie Agricultural Research Centre highlighted the ability of tropical grass pastures to respond to summer rainfall and enhanced soil nutrition to significantly lift forage production for livestock.
Ms Atkinson said important ongoing research was evaluating temperate and tropical legumes which could be grown as companion crops to supply nitrogen to tropical grasses.
“More than just promoting grass growth, legumes supply high quality feed for stock and it’s that double benefit which has led Meat & Livestock Australia to fund our research through its Feedbase Investment Program.”
DPI Pasture Unit staff, Lester McCormick and Suzanne Boschma provided tips on successful pasture establishment; with advice on managing feed quality and the use of supplements to benefit livestock production presented by Central West Catchment Management Authority livestock officer, Brett Littler.
For more information on pasture management and future pasture updates which are due to run in Central West NSW during the next 12 months producers should contact Trudie Atkinson, , firstname.lastname@example.org