Monaro native pasture work
SOME of the most significant research ever undertaken on Monaro pastures will deliver benefits for graziers who rely on native grass based pastures for running wethers and opportunistic grazing for other stock.
Known as the Monaro Grassland Research and Demonstration Project, the work is being conducted as a partnership between NSW Department of Primary Industries and the Southern Rivers Catchment Authority.
Previously these pastures have not attracted the sort of attention that the higher production activities like forage cropping and introduced pasture sowing have and, despite their obvious importance during the drought, little is known.
The research team aims to fill the information gap by carrying out several trials – the first and major part being grazing trials.
Areas of native pasture have been treated with fertiliser and legume in an attempt to achieve a more profitable pasture.
However, bio-diversity impacts are being closely monitored to assess what changes occur to the stability of the pasture as a grassland.
These areas have been stocked with Merino wethers. The animals will stay on the plots for a number of years so the project can follow their development and accurately determine the economic value of the pasture treatments.
The grazing trials have two sites, one on each of the two dominant soil types that the Monaro’s pastures are based on – a granite soil near Berridale and a basalt soil near Bungarby.
The second part of the project aims to find more appropriate legumes for the Monaro environment. Over the past difficult years, subterranean clover has had a battle and this has driven the need to find other options.
Small plot trials have been established on both soil types to explore these options along with alternative pasture grasses and herbs.
The third trial addresses the issue of serrated tussock on the Monaro, where land managers have struggled to control the weed on non-arable and unproductive land.
The research aims to find a long-term solution by broadcasting various native grasses, shrubs and trees.
It is hoped that some of the natives, or some combination of them, can successfully form a canopy that will prevent reinfestation of this weed susceptible land.
The final trial will compare various forms of recycled green waste products for use in agriculture. The aim is to identify which type of products are best made from household wastes so they can be easily and most effectively used to fertilise and improve farming soils.
Landholders interested in the work can attend field days on any of the sites or obtain information though the Cooma DPI office.
This story appears in the September edition of Agriculture Today.
Further information: Luke Pope 02 6452 3411
This story appears in Agriculture Today.