EverGraze: the productive management of perennial grazing systems in extreme drought

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EverGraze is a national research and delivery project developing profitable perennial-based livestock systems which aims to increase profit by 50% while improving environmental outcomes. Four sheep grazing systems were tested near Tarcutta NSW during the drought of 2006/07. The apparent plant density of lucerne (Medicago sativa) pasture was maintained between years, phalaris (Phalaris aquatica) retained 70-90% of plants while tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea) density declined by 50%. The persistence of both lucerne and fescue did not decline with higher stocking intensities. Groundcover in December 2006 and May 2007 at the autumn rains was similar between grazing systems. Minimum lucerne groundcover was between 40 and 60%, while phalaris and fescue was maintained above 60%. Ewes in the higher stocking rate systems were removed from plots to a containment area earlier to protect pastures, and returned later after the seasonal break. It is concluded that productive pastures can be maintained through extreme droughts with suitable grazing management. The flexibility of different grazing systems in terms of generating cash flow and potential for stock sale to counter seasonal conditions in adverse years should be considered.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication14th AAC
Subtitle of host publicationGlobal issues. Paddock action
EditorsMurray Unkovich
Place of PublicationAdelaide
PublisherAustralian Society of Agronomy
Number of pages6
ISBN (Electronic)9789793566573
Publication statusPublished - 2008
Event14th Australian Agronomy Conference - Adelaide, Australia
Duration: 21 Sept 200825 Sept 2008


Conference14th Australian Agronomy Conference


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