HOW TO USE THIS ONLINE MAGAZINE
by clicking the arrows at the side of the page.
by clicking anywhere on the page. A slider will appear, allowing you to adjust your zoom level.
and move the page around when zoomed in by dragging the page.
and return to the original size by clicking on the page again.
by entering text in the search field and click on "In This Issue" or "All Issues" to search the current issue or the archive of back issues
a PDF of this magazine.
by clicking on thumbnails to select pages, and then press the print button.
a page via email, Facebook, Twitter and more.
TO VIEW PREVIOUS EDITIONS
, click the
button at the bottom of the screen.
Beyond the Bale : March 2013
37 ON-FARM March 2013 BEYOND THE BALE grass species and a significant level of erodium and silver grass (Vulpia spp). The erodium was a problem as it significantly reduced winter growth and also prevented grazing from mid-late spring onwards due to seed contamination of wool. Soil tests revealed acceptable pH levels but mild phosphorus and potassium deficiencies in this paddock, so sufficient levels of fertiliser were applied to ensure nutrient levels were not limiting. The native grass paddock was 5ha of steep, non-arable country, mostly low- quality spear grasses and wallaby grasses, with small sections of the existing phalaris. Again pH levels were acceptable and no fertiliser was required in this paddock. The third paddock was 8.4ha of both arable and steeper non-arable country. This paddock was the highest point in the original 16ha paddock and had been used by stock as a camp. The dominant species was erodium and there were few perennials. The soil tests revealed the paddock was mildly deficient in phosphorus with acceptable pH levels. "During May 2009 we sowed 3.3ha of the arable country to Landmaster phalaris at a rate of 4 kg/ha, together with 8 kg/ha subclover. To address the phosphorus deficiency we incorporated 100 kg/ha mono-ammonium phosphate (MAP) fertiliser at sowing. "The steep, non-arable 4.9ha of the paddock was left as native and annual pastures." ONGOING MANAGEMENT During autumn 2010, the Noyes applied 35 kg/ha of phosphorus, 100 kg/ha of potassium and 60 g/ha molybdenum (as a foliar spray) in the old phalaris paddock. "We hoped this would not only boost the perennial species but also improve the content of desirable annuals, such as sub clover and annual ryegrass. "At the same time, we also applied grass and broadleaf herbicides (separately), to control annual grass weeds and erodium respectively. "The other two paddocks did not require any further fertiliser or herbicide applications at this time." GRAZING MANAGEMENT To maximise the benefits of the fencing and fertiliser, the Noyes made the shift from set stocking to rotational grazing. They boxed 500 ewes into one mob and moved them, depending on feed on offer, pasture growth rates and what the season was doing. Each paddock had 35-60 days between grazings to recover. At the time the Supporting Site was developed, there was also a break in the seasons. During 2010 and 2011, the Noyes had 1115 mm and 771 mm of rain Local producers identify native grasses on the slope which was separated and managed separately from the more arable flat and plateau. respectively, which was well above their annual average and a vast improvement from the 553 mm received during 2009. "The combination of rotational grazing and increased rainfall saw a dramatic change in feed availability -- especially in the new phalaris paddock," Mr Noye said. "This allowed us to effectively increase our stocking rates in this paddock to 13 DSE/ha. "We left the phalaris paddock unstocked to set seed, and, to prevent spear grass seeds contaminating our wool, we removed stock from the native pasture as the grass reached seed production during mid-spring." In addition to boosting stocking rates, the approaches also impacted on pasture composition across all the paddocks. The clover content of each paddock varied throughout the year. The old phalaris paddock almost always had more clover than the other two pastures, in response to fertiliser and grazing. "Our rotational grazing strategy was designed to leave relatively high levels of residual pasture in the new phalaris paddock, as Landmaster, being an upright winter-active variety, is sensitive to heavy grazing. This also suppressed the clover in that paddock. "The native grass paddock always had low clover content, consistent with the fact it received no fertiliser."