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Regeneration of drought-affected pastures

Lambert, G.A. Mr; Ph: (07) 4951 8724; Fax: (07) 4951 4509; lambertg@dpi.qld.gov.au

Research organisation: Queensland Department of Primary Industries, Queensland Beef Industry Institute, PO Box 668, Mackay Qld 4740

Objectives: The terms of agreement for the Federally funded Drought Regional Initiative under which this project operates state that its objectives are to facilitate rural adjustment which contributes to the enhanced on-farm drought preparedness of farm business enterprises within Queensland. The expected outcomes of the Initiative provided under this Agreement will be:

1. Enhanced on-farm drought infrastructure for drought preparedness;

2. Improved on-farm drought management skills;

3. Enhanced State government capacity to provide property management planning which incorporates drought management elements;

4. Additionally, this project's outcome is the development and implementation of effective techniques for renovation and management of Downs country pastures.

This project's performance indicators will be: a report showing the costs and benefits of establishing or reestablishing pastures under alternate management regimes; number of field days held and numbers of landholders attending; numbers of district landholders incorporating pasture re-establishment into property management plans and subsequently establishing pastures and management techniques as a result of the project.

Methodology: This project is principally located in the Nebo and Broadsound shires, with a site in Dalrymple shire subject to costings. Activities to include, (1) establishment of small plots of selected species at six sites and (2), re-establishment of native pastures and legumes and other species on 100 ha on each of six properties. Sites will be managed to explore the most productive grazing options in a total property management and drought preparedness context. Pasture monitoring sites will be established and cost benefit analyses undertaken. The adoption of Grasscheck will be encouraged. Field days and newsletters will be used to publicise project findings.

Progress:

1. 8 sites have been established to small plots (20m x 50m) of selected native and exotic grasses and legumes. There is at least 14 species at each site. These have been in for 2 years.

2. Six 100ha sites have been established. At each site, approx 45 ha has been planted to selected grasses, 45 ha to those same grasses plus two exotic legumes and 10 ha have been left to native grass regeneration. The whole 100 ha is fenced to control grazing.

3. Of the 6 sites established, 4 are adequate for our purposes, 1 was taken over by Bothriochloa petusa (Indian Blue Couch) and the other was badly affected by dry weather. Another attempt to replant may be made this year.

4. Because of convenience, several field days have been conducted at the two Nebo sites. Progress reports have been made to the funding body and detailed progress of Nebo sites have been published in a local newsletter "brigaletter".

5. Grass check sites have been set up at all locations, one on the planted area and one on the native pastures.

6. Because of the time limitation, no accurate animal data will be collected. However, it is intended to carry on with each site after the official funding has concluded to gather this very important data

Keywords: Bluegrass; drought; farm management; grazing management; monitoring; native pastures; pasture establishment; property planning

Period: starting date 1996-07; completion date 1999-07

Status: ongoing

Publications: None as yet

 

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