Towards sustainable temperate perennial pastures

D. R. Kemp, P. M. Dowling

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

71 Citations (Scopus)


Naturalised pastures across the higher rainfall (>600 mm) perennial pasture zone of southeastern Australia are less productive than they were, while sown pastures fail to maintain their initial levels of production. Several factors have contributed to this, including lack of knowledge of suitable grazing practices, weed invasion, increasing acid soils, rising water tables and poor management practices during droughts. A key issue in each case is the decline in perennial grass species which is both a cause and effect of the decline in productivity and sustainability of these ecosystems. This paper introduces a volume devoted to the largest collaborative study done to evaluate tactics for better grazing management and to improve the sustainability of perennial pasture ecosystems. Grazing practices to manage the composition of pastures have been largely neglected in pasture research, but are an important first step in improving pasture sustainability. This paper also outlines a new, open communal grazing experimental design which was developed and used across 24 sites on farms in New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania and South Australia, to evaluate tactics for grazing management. The general aim across these experiments was to maintain (if adequate) or enhance (if degraded), the proportion of desirable perennial grasses in the sward to achieve more sustainable pastures. The results will provide the basis for building more sustainable grazing systems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)125-132
Number of pages8
JournalAustralian Journal of Experimental Agriculture
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2000

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