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.
|Title of host publication||14th AAC|
|Subtitle of host publication||Global issues. Paddock action|
|Place of Publication||Adelaide|
|Publisher||Australian Society for Agronomy|
|Number of pages||6|
|Publication status||Published - 2008|
|Event||14th Australian Agronomy Conference - Adelaide, Australia|
Duration: 21 Sep 2008 → 25 Sep 2008
|Conference||14th Australian Agronomy Conference|
|Period||21/09/08 → 25/09/08|
Robertson, S., Friend, M., & Broster, J. (2008). EverGraze: the productive management of perennial grazing systems in extreme drought. In M. Unkovich (Ed.), 14th AAC: Global issues. Paddock action (pp. 1-6). Australian Society for Agronomy.