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Beyond the Bale : Apr 07 - May 07
To learn more about local Grain & Graze activities, contact a regional coordinator REGION REGIONAL COORDINATOR CONTACT NUMBER Avon Linda Leonard 08 9690 2191 Border Rivers Rachel Charles 07 4671 7900 Central West/Lachlan Jodie Dean 02 6895 1015 Corangamite/ Glenelg-Hopkins Cam Nicholson 03 5258 3860 Eyre Peninsula Alison Frischke 08 8680 6223 Mallee Zubair Shahzad 03 5021 9103 Maranoa/Balonne Stephen Ginns 07 4620 8122 Northern Agricultural Philip Barrett-Lennard 08 9475 0753 Murrumbidgee Katrina Sait 02 6924 4633 Frost has become the major challenge for Ian Jennings over the recent run of dry years and he has been rethinking his stubble management, along with the need to retain all possible moisture in the soil. Mr Jennings and his wife Marilyn are the fourth generation of the family on 1600-hectare 'Raywood' at Coolamon, north of Wagga Wagga in southern NSW. They run 2000 Merino ewes on 'Raywood', with the top half of the flock going to Merino rams and the others to White Suffolks for prime lamb production. Settled in 1879, 'Raywood' is a typical Murrumbidgee run of undulating, loamy, red soils, with some low country where frost can cause problems. The country is still lightly timbered and Mr Jennings is well into a program of fencing off native trees and grasses and planting tree lines for the purposes of wildlife protection and windbreaks. The aim is to have all paddocks about 80 hectares in area, each with a tree line. "Traditionally 'Raywood' ran a 50:50 mix of stock and cropping," Mr Jennings says. "Over the past decade, cropping crept out to 60, even 70, per cent of the area and now we are moving back to the 50:50 balance." Over the past 15 to 20 years, the property has moved gradually from the traditional clover-dominant pastures to a lucerne/clover mix, as Mr Jennings believes lucerne is better than clover at taking advantage of rain whenever it falls. 'Raywood' is one of five 'Focus Farms' being studied in a joint initiative between Murrumbidgee Grain & Graze and the NSW Department of Primary Industries' 'Best Management Practices for Dryland Cropping' project. Grain & Graze is a collaborative partnership between AWI, Meat and Livestock Australia, the Grains Research and Development Corporation and Land and Water Australia. Its aim is to lift the profitability of livestock and cropping operations on mixed farms across Australia, while simultaneously improving natural resource management, including soils. The Focus Farm initiative is funded by the National Action Plan for Salinity and Water uality through the Murrumbidgee Catchment Management Authority. Monthly monitoring of the Focus Farms provides an overview of the feed production cycle on a whole-farm basis, and how this affects environmental indicators such as water use, ground cover and biodiversity. Five paddocks on each farm -- representing typical mixed-farming components of annual pasture, perennial pasture with lucerne, native pasture/remnant vegetation, grazing cereal and grain-only cereal -- are monitored. Mr Jennings says the grazing wheats make a major contribution to filling the usual winter feedgap, as they are capable of being grazed six to eight weeks after they germinate and provide a big lift in stocking rates, at least double that of lucerne/clover pastures. They also allow lucerne pastures to be spelled from early winter onwards, and pastures to be cleaned of broadleaf weeds by the time the ewes lamb at the start of August. Monitoring of soil moisture and biota as part of the Grain & Graze project has helped Mr Jennings to consider Dryland Focus Farm aims to lift profit and natural resources The feed production cycle on Ian and Marilyn Jennings' property is analysed monthly, as is its effect on biodiversity and water use 4GRAIN & GRAZE BEYOND THE BALE GET INVOLVED, GET THE GRAIN & GRAZE GUIDE Ian Jennings of 'Raywood', Coolamon: learning from the Grain & Graze program. The national Grain & Graze program supports 57 regional and four national research projects, all aiming to improve the profitability of mixed farms around Australia, and it is telling everyone about its work in a new project guide. Backed by AWI, the Grains Research and Development Corporation, Meat and Livestock Australia and Land and Water Australia, Grain & Graze is unique in the equal weighting it gives to social and environmental outcomes, as well as improved farm productivity. National operations coordinator Dr Richard Price says Grain & Graze has produced the new project guide detailing its national and regional projects to encourage even more participation and adoption of Grain & Graze by producers, advisers and researchers. For a free copy of the project guide, or more information about the program, go to www.grainandgraze.com.au and click on 'Publications', or contact Gill Stewart, Grain & Graze's national extension coordinator on 02 6263 6042. retaining standing stubble rather than mulching it, which can cause seeding problems after a heavy crop. "Maybe we won't get so much stubble if the dry years continue, but I have started to think the way to go is to leave the stubble standing and perhaps sow between the rows, because standing stubble definitely provides more wind protection," he says. "I am on 10-inch (25-centimetre) spacings and thinking about going to 12 inches (30cm), to provide a bit more room for sowing between the rows." Mr Jennings is keen to get a perennial grass such as phalaris into the 'Raywood' farming system, for the contribution it would make to soil organic matter and for ground cover in pasture paddocks over summer. Like everything else related to the weather, success with phalaris has not been easy in recent years, but patience is the key. ú More information: Richard Price, Grain & Graze national operations coordinator, 02 6295 6300, 0409 624 297; www.grainandgraze.com.au PHOTO: KELLIE PENFOLD
Jun 07 - Jul 07
Feb 07 - Mar 07 Supplement