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Grazing rotation helps pasture

Mitchellstown wool producer Gary McLarty is in the unique position of being able to put theory into practice.

January 22, 2013 4:04am

Looking after plant growth leads to better pastures.


Mitchellstown wool producer Gary McLarty is in the unique position of being able to put theory into practice.

A former DPI staff member, Mr McLarty was involved in a grazing experiment at Broadford from 1994 to 2003 and has subsequently been able to implement the outcomes on his family’s broadacre property.

The Broadford grazing experiment compared various grazing methods, including set stock, simple and intensive rotations, and fertiliser regimes.

The experiment achieved significant environmental and economic benefits and demonstrated that the approach resulted in fewer weeds and reduced accumulation of nutrients.

Rotational grazing has been successful for Mr McLarty who considers it has earned extra money for the business.

‘‘We were trying to look after the plants in the pasture so that they had enough time to recover,’’ he said.

By moving large groups of cattle more frequently they found that the plants had time to recover and regenerate.

‘‘It helped create a stronger and more robust plant.

‘‘Allowing the plant to get to the three-leaf stage gave it more opportunities to capture light and appropriate sugars.’’

The experiment found the stocking rate could be lifted by 20 per cent.

‘‘Side benefits include better ground cover, less soil moisture loss and better carbon capture,’’ Mr McLarty said.

‘‘We found that plant recovery was the biggest thing.’’

Mr McLarty, along with DPI soil scientist Declan McDonald and livestock officer John Bowman, will co-present at an EverGraze Livestock Grazing Management workshop at Macedon on February 4.

In addition to research outcomes, the session will also provide producers with the opportunity to create networks and links to access further grazing management information.

Other sessions will be held at:

Echuca on Tuesday, February 5;

Kerang on Wednesday, February 6;

Ouyen on Thursday, February 7; and

Horsham on Friday, February 8.

Sessions will run from 9.30am to 3pm and will be catered. For information or to RSVP phone Sam Ellis on 0408922712 or email sam.ellis@dpi.vic.gov.au

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