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Grass Recognition Workshops

Clare Edwards, Carol Rose and Lori McWhirter


Over the last six years, local NSW Department of Primary Industries extension officers have been developing and delivering a one-day workshop on Grass Recognition throughout the state. This paper outlines the workshop objectives, content and evaluation. The workshop focuses primarily on using plant recognition features to classify grasses in the paddock, using the premise that you cannot manage or monitor if you do not know what is present to begin with.

The workshop has been delivered to over 510 participants, mostly in Coastal and Tablelands environments in NSW. Many of the participants are landholders, but some are university students, Landcare support officers, government agencies, Rural Lands Protection Board staff and weed advisory officers. The course has met local producer and Landcare needs, and more recently some Catchment Management Authority targets. The topics link into both the ‘Prograze’ and ‘Landscan’ workshop series.

The five hour workshop is divided into sections with a mixture of activities, quizzes and theory. The course is often held in a local hall or on-farm, and covers grass species that are common to the area. The course is ‘hands on’, with deliverers preparing demonstration grass samples for the day. Topics include recognition of structural features, understanding different growth cycles, biodiversity and making a herbarium. Outdoor exercises include identifying plants in situ and understanding simple monitoring techniques Livestock-grass interactions are covered briefly, along with management.

Improvements in the knowledge and skills of the participants are assessed. Recent evaluation has been positive, revealing 98% of participants found the workshop ‘very’ or ‘extremely’ useful.

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