Pasture Management

Research output: Book chapter/Published conference paperChapter


A successful grazing enterprise provides high levels of animal performance but its ongoing success or sustainability depends also on the maintenance of high quality pasture. Emphasis therefore needs to be placed on ensuring good establishment of desired pasture species and ongoing management of the pasture to minimise deterioration of plant populations. The establishment process is very expensive and it is sound economics to maintain the pasture in a productive condition for as long as possible to spread the establishment costs over more years.It follows that pasture species and varieties need to be well adapted to their environment. Local knowledge and research outcomes are vital sources of information as to what is best suited to a particular environment, soil type and proposed enterprise. In the 21st Century, there are greater public expectations of graziers than has been the case in earlier times. The ongoing pressure of raising productivity to maintain profitability is ever present, whilst at the same time the community expects the natural resource base to be protected from degradation and biodiversity to be enhanced (Kemp and Michalk, 2007). There are the environmental challenges of soil salinisation and acidification and the ever likely incidence of drought, all of which require management for sustainability (Chapter 19). Improvements in water use efficiency lead to productivity gains and also contribute to the amelioration of environmental degradation aspects, such as soil erosion and salinisation.Further, the global influence of climate change adds an extra dimension whereby projected changes in local climate have to be addressed and attention given to greenhouse gas emissions (Keogh and Cottle 2009). Ruminants are the major source of these emissions in agriculture. Reducing time to market provides one way to limit such methane emissions and this requires ahigh quality feed supply.These and other issues are canvassed in this chapter to identify the principles of importance in a successful sheep grazing enterprise.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe International Sheep and Wool Handbook
EditorsD.J. Cottle
Place of PublicationNottingham
PublisherNottingham University Press
Number of pages20
ISBN (Print)9781904761860
Publication statusPublished - 2010


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