Impact of including lucerne and other perennials in the rotation of crop-livestock enterprises in southern NSW

Brian Dear, Guangdi Li, Geoffrey Casburn, Michael Reynolds, Andrew Bathgate, Michael Robertson, Rick Llewellyn, Richard Hayes

Research output: Book chapter/Published conference paperConference paper

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Abstract

The MIDAS (Model of an Integrated Dryland Agricultural Systems) bioeconomic model was used to predict the change in farm profit and enterprise mix from incorporating lucerne, chicory or perennial grasses in the phased pasture-crop rotation of a typical farm located in the 450-500 mm rainfall zone in southern NSW, as part of the EverCrop® project within the Future Farm Industries CRC. Traditional rotations have utilised either annual pastures or lucerne (Medicago sativa) but the need to increase ground cover and overcome the animal health issues (red gut, bloat) associated with lucerne pastures has increased interest in using a greater range of perennials in the rotation. Estimated farm profit on a typical 1,000 ha property relying on an annual pasture-crop rotation was $147,000. Adding lucerne to the rotation was estimated to increase farm profit by 30% compared to a system based on annual pastures only. Including either perennial grasses or chicory in addition to lucerne increased farm profit by an additional 4-5% and profit was maximised at $207,000 when all 3 perennial pasture species were used in the rotation. The optimum area of perennial pastures was 34% of the farm with annual pastures on 10%. The area under crop declined only slightly from 70% in an annual pasture system to 57% when perennials were incorporated into the rotation. Perennials increased the average stocking rate by 28-40% and increased both the area of winter grazed crop and the amount of supplementary feeding required.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication15th AAC
Subtitle of host publicationFood security from sustainable agriculture
EditorsHugh Dove, Richard Culvenor
Place of PublicationAustralia
PublisherThe Regional Institute
Pages1-5
Number of pages5
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Event15th Australian Agronomy Conference - Lincoln, New Zealand, New Zealand
Duration: 15 Nov 201018 Nov 2010

Conference

Conference15th Australian Agronomy Conference
CountryNew Zealand
Period15/11/1018/11/10

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