Effects of grazing management on Bothriochloa macra (red grass) in a native pasture

James Virgona, Shane Hildebrand

Research output: Book chapter/Published conference paperConference paperpeer-review


Red grass is an indigenous species that is commonly found in native pastures in the higher rainfall zone of New South Wales. A grazing experiment was conducted near Cookardinia in southern NSW to determine if simple grazing management strategies could be imposed to maintain and/or increase this species in native pastures dominated by exotic annual species. From September 2003 to April 2006, five treatments were imposed: 1) continuous grazing (year round grazing at 5 DSE/ha); 2) grazing exclusion; 3) high spring utilisation (as with set stocking but increasing to 23 DSE/ha for 6 weeks in spring); 4) high spring utilisation with strategic lock-up over summer, and 5) strategic lock-up over summer. Strategic summer lock-ups were designed to encourage seedling recruitment and were imposed in response to rainfall after seed fall in late summer-early autumn. Treatments were applied in plots (15 x 15 m), replicated four times, communally grazed by Merino wethers. Initially, red grass was a minor component (8% of biomass) of the pasture, which was dominated by broadleaf weeds and annual grasses. By April 2006, the basal cover of red grass was significantly higher in the two treatments that included strategic lock-up over summer (treatment 4 : 8.9% and treatment 5: 10.7%) compared with continuous grazing (3.7%). In contrast, exclusion of grazing over the experimental period had no significant effect compared with continuous grazing. In conclusion, grazing management, in this case summer-autumn rest, may be an effective low-cost tool to increase the proportion and basal cover of Bothriochloa macra.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication15th AAC
Subtitle of host publicationFood security from sustainable agriculture
EditorsHugh Dove
Place of PublicationAustralia
PublisherRegional Institute
Number of pages4
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Event15th Australian Agronomy Conference - Lincoln, New Zealand, New Zealand
Duration: 15 Nov 201018 Nov 2010


Conference15th Australian Agronomy Conference
Country/TerritoryNew Zealand


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