Ground Cover Supplement : GC Supplement - Pastures
GROUND COVER PASTURES 18 PERENNIALS hectare over the 2004–05 summer when sown into a native pasture on a recharge site west of Manilla. On the Tamworth saline site, Katambora produced 3500kg DM/ha. While tropical grasses have been evalu- ated in northern NSW for more than a decade, the work has largely focused on recharge environments, says Dr Lodge, of the NSW Department of Primary Industries, Tamworth. “The rainfall distribution of northern NSW, with 60 per cent of rain falling from November to March, favours sum- mer-based livestock production systems so tropical grasses would be expected to perform well. “Previous work has shown there is a range of tropical grasses which are high- producing and have the ability to provide green feed during summer and carryover dry feed during winter. And as more salt- affected areas begin to appear, there is an increasing need to find new pasture species that are both salt-tolerant and productive. “As a result, the ability of tropical grasses to use water looks increasingly important for both production and drying out the subsoil. “An interesting feature of tropical grasses is their ability to rapidly respond to rainfall, producing large quantities of feed. At the recharge site on previously cropped land, tropical grasses in summer produced an average of 11kg dry matter per millime- tre of rain. This compared with temperate grass species sown in an adjacent area which produced just 3.7kg. “During the winter months, temperate grasses outperformed the tropical grasses, producing up to 6.5kg DM/mm, with the tropical grasses producing 3.1kg. “When you look over the full season, the tropical grasses significantly outperformed the traditional cool-season grasses, show- ing both their adaptability and potential in northern NSW. “But while the potential for tropical grasses is there, and their popularity is increasing, little is known of their fertiliser and grazing requirements to maximise forage quality and persistence. Similarly, there is a need to look at their legume compatibility. Understanding the basic agronomy of these grasses, including how to get better establishment, is essential for widespread adoption by producers.” The trials evaluated a range of tropi- cal grasses, including Katambora Rhodes grass, Premier digit, FlorenA bluegrass, SwannA, Inverell purple pigeon grass and Bambatsi panic. Dr Dear believes the project has been valuable for two main reasons. “First, it has identified a range of new pasture plants suited to the wheatbelt and widens the range of options. Second, the project identified a number of new species that are good candidates for future improvement through breeding and selection. “The project has certainly widened our horizons with some exciting new pros- pects.” Matthew Crosbie is communications coordinator (NSW), CRC for Plant-based Management of Dryland Salinity. GRDC Research Code UWA397 More information: The results of the project can be obtained by contacting researchers running trials in the different states: Northern NSW: Dr Greg Lodge and Sue Boschma, 02 6763 1176 Southern NSW: Dr Guangdi Li and Belinda Hackney, 02 6938 1999 Victoria: Zhongnan Nie, 03 5573 0791 South Australia: Andrew Craig, 08 8762 9193 Western Australia: Tony Albertsen, 08 9821 3250 PERSISTENCE OF PERENNIAL GRASSES AT THE BARMEDMAN TRIAL (BASED ON BASAL COVER) 0 5 15 25 10 20 30 35 40 45 50 Basal frequency (%) Trangie danthonia Kasbah Taranna (NSWA) Katambora Buffel Bambatsi Atlas PG Ligule 179 (NS) Grouse exp line exp line exp line Mission Tonic Themeda Sirolan Wakefield (UNE) Resolute Tas 1795 Russian wheatgrass AU Triumph Currie AVH 4 Camel PERSISTENCE OF LEGUMES AND HERBS AT THE BARMEDMAN TRIAL (BASED ON BASAL COVER) 0 2 6 4 8 10 12 14 16 Basal cover (%) Lotononis bainesii M. sativa Trifolium uniflorum Dorycnium hirsutum M. sativa caerulea Dorycnium hirsutum Grasslands Puna D. hirsutum Lotus cytisoides Lotus cytisoides Coronilla varia Lotus corniculatus Lotus corniculatus Goldie Adesmia bicolor Sanguisorba minor Dorycnium pentaphyllum Indigofera patens Cassia rotundifolia Coronilla valentina Coronilla varia Dorycnium rectum Galega officinalis Galega orientalis 'The project has certainly widened our horizons with some exciting new prospects'
GC Supplement - Growers sharing knowledge
GC Supplement - Subsoil constraints