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Improved pasture management and beef production through parthenium weed control

Chamberlain, H.J. Mr; Ph: (07) 4983 1211; Fax: (07) 4983 2854; mailto:chamberlainh@dpi.qld.gov.au

Willcocks, J. Ms; Ph: (07) 4982 8800; Fax: (07) 4982 3459; mailto:willcocksj@dpi.qld.gov.au

Research organisations: Queensland Department of Primary Industries, Beef Industry Institute, PO Box 13, Clermont Qld 4721.

Sponsors: MRC, Meat Research Corporation

Objectives:

1. To develop and manage sown and native grass pastures on the respective treatments so as to maximise recovery from drought;

2. To obtain basic data on soil seed reserves and pasture yields;

3. To evaluate the effects of the herbicide 'Brushoff' in controlling parthenium;

4. To evaluate the effects of one year's grazing treatments on pasture productivity and composition.

Methodology: A grazing demonstration will be established on parthenium infested downs country. The trial area will be treated with herbicide to control parthenium and rejuvenate the pasture. It will develop grazing management strategies that ensure stability. The demonstration will monitor the effect of varying stocking rates on pasture condition and animal production. One treatment will be strategically spelled to allow grass to seed and seedlings to establish. This may be important in the rejuvenation and stabilisation processes. Each paddock will be stocked when re-establishing grass has produced 1000 kg/ha dry matter and seeded. Pasture (including parthenium) yield and botanical composition will be determined by BOTANAL sampling. This will track the effect of imposed management on the pasture. Grass productivity will be determined by the GUNSYND pasture growth model. A pasture management package, including the usage of herbicides and select grazing strategies, will be produced. This package will be extended to producers by way of field days, Landcare (LCD) groups' attendance and pamphlets.

Progress: The extended drought in the area delayed the time at which the project got underway. The 1998/99 summer is the third since the end of the drought. Loss of perennial plants has been a major problem. Currently using herbicide to facilitate weed control and encourage a building up of the grass seed bank. Will totally destock in the warmer months when opportunities occur.

Period: starting date 1992-07; completion date 1998-06 (refer below)

Status: Project has a long way to run, despite cessation of funding, for objectives to be realised.

Keywords: grazing; poisonous plants; weed control

Publications: None as yet

 

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