Intensive rotational grazing can improve profitability and environmental outcomes

Warwick Badgery, P Cranney, G D Millar, D Mitchell, Karl Behrendt

Research output: Book chapter/Published conference paperConference paper

Abstract

Intensive rotational grazing has been widely adopted by farmers across southern Australia, to improve financial, environmental and personal elements of farming businesses. Often the shift to an intensive rotational grazing system has been associated with changes to livestock enterprises, stocking rate and phosphorus fertiliser application, making it difficult to determine the specific role of grazing management. An experiment was run on native pasture at Panuara (33'27'S, 154'56'E) over a three year period (2008-2010) to investigate how increasing the intensity of grazing management from continuous grazing (one paddock, 1P) to flexible 4- and 20-paddock rotational systems (4P and 20P) influenced profitability and environmental outcomes. Lamb weaning weight decreased with increasing grazing intensity (average weaning weight 1P = 33.7, 4P = 30.6, 20P = 29.9), but higher stocking rates were possible with 20P (average stocking rate 1P = 6.4, 4P = 7.1, 20P = 7.9 DSE/ha), due to higher feed on offer. Grazing system had limited influence on pasture composition, although groundcover and herbage mass were periodically higher in 20P, particularly in drier autumns (2009 and 2010). Gross margin was higher in the 20P system in 2010 when stocking rates were higher and lambs retained after weaning, with little difference at other times. Using the experimental results from 2009 and 2010 there were strongly positive internal rates of return (IRR) in moving from 1P to 4P and 20P systems when infrastructure was in place (18.3% and 23.9% respectively), however, IRR decreased as the investment in infrastructure increased.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication27th Proceedings
Subtitle of host publicationDriving your landscape to success
Place of PublicationOrange
PublisherThe Grassland Society of NSW Inc.
Pages85-91
Number of pages7
ISBN (Electronic)9781742563039
Publication statusPublished - 2012
EventAnnual Grasslands Conference - Wagga Wagga, Australia
Duration: 24 Jul 201226 Jul 2012

Conference

ConferenceAnnual Grasslands Conference
CountryAustralia
Period24/07/1226/07/12

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    Badgery, W., Cranney, P., Millar, G. D., Mitchell, D., & Behrendt, K. (2012). Intensive rotational grazing can improve profitability and environmental outcomes. In 27th Proceedings: Driving your landscape to success (pp. 85-91). The Grassland Society of NSW Inc..