On-farm participatory research sites investigating factors limiting use of perennial pastures in pasture crop enterprises

Mark Peoples, Tony Swan, Justin Tidd, Janet Walker, Philip Bowden, Richard Hayes, Guangdi Li, Mark Norton, Eric Koetz, Brian Dear

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


Workshops and surveys conducted with farmers and agribusiness in the mixed farming zone of southern New South Wales (NSW) identified concerns about the cost of establishment and poor survival of perennials, and uncertainties about their impact on farm profit and risk as constraints to the wider integration of perennial pastures into cropping systems. Subsequent consultation with farmers and consultants led to the development of several on-farm participatory trials in 2008-09. One such series of studies investigated issues surrounding pasture establishment. Cover-cropping (sowing pasture species under a grain crop) is the dominant method of pasture establishment but although this technique has been used for many years, farmers are now reporting a higher frequency of failure. This paper reports the findings from 4 trials undertaken in direct collaboration with farmers using farming machinery at Brocklesby and Ariah Park in southern NSW which aimed to compare the influence of sowing rate and the presence and absence of a cereal cover-crop on the establishment and persistence of the perennials lucerne, phalaris, cocksfoot, and chicory sown in different mixes and rates. There was little or no effect of the presence of a cover-crop on initial establishment of any of the perennials, but both growth and survival of some species during the drier than average spring and over the 2009 summer were severely impacted by cover-crop sowing rates as low as 10 kg barley/ha and 12 kg wheat/ha. The results are compared to outcomes of cover-cropping studies undertaken in the same region between 1996 and 2000.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication15th AAC
Subtitle of host publicationFood security from sustainable agriculture
Place of PublicationAustralia
PublisherThe Regional Institute
Number of pages1
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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