What is pasture improvement?
Pasture improvement is the process of developing country to increase the nutritive value and performance of pasture grasses and legumes.
Pasture improvements may take the form of: fertiliser applications to promote existing grass and legume species, blade plough/oversowing and direct drilling into established pastures or by preparing a full cultivated seedbed. Improved pastures can also contribute to soil nitrogen levels and help improve the overall structure and health of your soil.
Why should you improve your pastures?
- More feed, better quality = reliable production
- Higher carrying capacity
- Increase you weight gains, wool clip or milk cheque
- Improved calving and lambing
- Finish stock in less time
- Improve ground cover, soil fertility and structure – less erosion and fewer weeds
- Cheaper than buying land to expand production
- Restore degraded land, salty areas, hardpans
- Introduction of improved pasture genetics
- Improve farm profitability
- Warm season grasses are more efficient uses of water and nitrogen
- Warm season grasses are more drought and heat tolerant
- Profiting through Pasture Improvement
- Improved pastures – the key to sustainable farming
- Benefits for the environment
- More complete vegetative cover and improved soil structure will allow a higher percentage of the rainfall to infiltrate the soil where it can be used for plant growth, rather than running off.
The environmental benefits of well managed pastures include:
- Reduced soil erosion
- Improved air and water quality
- Encourages regeneration of native species
- Increased plant vigour and production
- Reduced off-site environment impact
- Efficient use of rainfall
- Reduced runoff
- Pasture benefits of cropping rotations
- Ley pastures enable farmers and graziers to achieve profitable and sustainable cropping/grazing systems.
When well-managed, a pasture phase provides many benefits to future crops, including:
- Weed management, including management of herbicide-resistant weeds
- Improved soil structure and fertility
- Improved management of acid soils and salinity
- Increased crop yields and protein levels
- Breaking of disease cycles
- Reduced fertiliser costs
- Increase your yield through legumes
- A well maintained legume component can be an excellent way to provide a good nitrogen source for grass pastures and helps to increase yield. Legumes also provide a good source of protein and quality, significantly improving the overall productivity of pastures
- Grass only pasture
- Declining soil fertility with long term grazing
- Declining paddock protein over time with a sharp decline during drought and winter months
- Declining carrying capacity and live weight gains over time
- Grass and legume pasture
- Increased Nitrogen from legumes
- Legumes provide increased paddock protein and maintain protein in drier and/or colder months
- Pasture will sustain higher stock numbers and/or live weight gains
Legume Establishment Options Tropical
The introduction of legumes in your grass mixes will add significant quality to your pastures. These mixes can be tailored to suit your individual requirements.
AgriCote legumes can be mixed with fertiliser safely and strategically spread, capitalising on seasonal opportunities. Legumes like mink white clover and B1 Burgundy work well using this method.
Hard seeded legumes can be fed through the grazing animal suitable legumes are Mega Stylo mix and Wynn Cassia.
This can be included in your loose-lick purchases from your manufacturer. Dung establishment via loose-lick 5kg of seed per 1000kg of product.
Over-sowing legumes into existing grass pastures is an excellent way of introducing more quality to the paddock. Legumes that are well suited for this method are Lucerne, B1 Burgundy and Medics.
The use of aerial application methods can be particularly beneficial for getting a legume component in those hard to cover areas. Legumes like siran, Amiga, Mega Stylo, Wynn Cassia and B1 Burgundy work well in this situation.