A survey of farmer practice on the establishment, duration and production of pastures in the mixed farming zone of southern New South Wales

Jeffrey McCormick, Guangdi Li, Richard Hayes, Geoff Casburn, Matthew Gardner, Graeme Sandral, Mark Peoples, Tony Swan

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This paper reports the results from a survey conducted in the mixed farming
zone of southern NSW to determine the method and success of pasture
establishment, farmer perceptions on pasture production, timing and methods
for ending the pasture phase, as well as livestock production and feed base
sources throughout the year. The survey was conducted at 7 farmer forums
organised by various farming systems groups and district agronomists. A
total of 114 responses were received. Averaged over the whole region, 48%
of growers established pastures by under-sowing in greater than 75% of
occasions while 32% of growers never used the under-sowing technique.
Cover-crops used for under-sowing were primarily wheat (56%) and barley
(30%). Pasture mixes primarily included lucerne (72%) with phalaris the
second most common perennial (33%). In an average rainfall year, 60% of
farmers rated their pastures as excellent or satisfactory, while 62% of
farmers rated their pastures as satisfactory or poor over the ten drought
years from 2000-2009. During average years, 70% of farmers had a pasture
phase for 4-6 years but during the drought years, only 47% of pasture
phases ran for 4-6 years while 30% of pasture rotations were 4 years or
less. Poor persistence was ranked by 75% of producers as one of the top
three reasons for ending the pasture phase. The average stocking rates
were 6 DSE/ha and 11 DSE/ha based on total farm area and total pasture
area respectively. Feed for adult stock over a calendar year was primarily
pasture based (57%) with stubble as a significant contributor (18%). In
contrast, feed for young stock was 65% pasture based and only 7% reliance
on stubble, but 14% on grazing crops.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication16th AAC
Subtitle of host publicationCapturing opportunities and overcoming obstacles in Australian agronomy
EditorsI. Yunusa
Place of PublicationAustralia
PublisherThe Regional Institute
Number of pages4
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Event16th Australian Agronomy Conference - University of New England, Armidale, Australia
Duration: 14 Oct 201218 Oct 2012
Conference number: 16th
http://agronomyaustraliaproceedings.org/index.php/2012-conf-proc-homepage (Conference proceedings 2012 homepage)


Conference16th Australian Agronomy Conference
Abbreviated titleCapturing Opportunities and Overcoming Obstacles in Australian Agronomy
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