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Beyond the Bale : Aug 07 - Sep 07
behind a tractor. "If you don't plant it into soil with enough moisture, it always seems to struggle," Nigel says. The saltbush at Mitchell is rotationally grazed and seems to be sur viving well in the drought, greening up without rain, although the Brumptons have seen substantial losses of saltbush on their Cunnamulla property. Nigel says the sheep do not really "love" it, and the kangaroos do not eat it, so the saltbush tends to be held over until it is really needed in times of drought. "It is a good tough plant that helps in drought, but is not the whole solution. The sheep need carbohydrates to go with it. It provides good shade and shelter at the same time as having some fodder value." Nigel says the saltbush has not spread through self- seeding because conditions have not been wet enough. Meanwhile, Hughenden producer Bob Little, from 'Moonby Downs', tried planting saltbush for the first time last year and had success wherever there was sufficient soil moisture. The seedlings that had enough subsoil moisture have taken off with the rain and are nearly a metre high. "The sheep seem to like it, particularly those that have come up from Cunnamulla," Bob says. "They can smell it, and go running to it when we open up the paddock." In hindsight, he says, it was a bit ambitious to try to plant 30,000 seedlings in one go, and thinks planting in 10,000-seedling lots might generate a better success rate. "We are going to try it again with the view to having a fenced-off area in each paddock. But this time I know that we can keep the seedlings in the shed and water them until the conditions are right for planting." Bob says each seedling costs 26¢, and in total the planting cost was about $10,000. "It is hardy drought fodder which brightens up after rain, and we'll use it to fatten lambs or as a supplement for ewes," he says. Stories such as this are included in the third and final book in the Drought Survival Stories e-book series, published by the Leading Sheep Central West group and available at www.leadingsheep.com.au. Drought Survival Stories 3 concludes the series that evolved from the desire of central-west ueensland producers to share their drought knowledge and experiences in an easy, affordable and readable fashion, thereby recording what they had learned for the future. ú More information: www.leadingsheep.com.au "It is a good tough plant that helps in drought, but is not the whole solution.The sheep need carbohydrates to go with it." 18 CLIMATE CHANGE BEYOND THE BALE Duncan Banks in saltbush on his Queensland property. PHOTO: GERRY GRANT from page 17
Aug 07 - Sep 07 Supplement
Jun 07 - Jul 07 Supplement