Ground Cover Supplement : GC Supplement - Pastures
GROUND COVER PASTURES 25 Why ley pasture? n Benefits n Profitability Future economics n More detailed use of the spreadsheet Making it work n Grazing and livestock n Providing quality feed n Managing the pastures n Animal health issues Back to crop n When to remove the pastures n Reconsider the system Reflect on outcomes Plan removal Monitor soil water & N Remove pasture Reflect on outcomes Plan sowings Monitor establishment Sow leys Reflect on outcomes Plan grazing system Monitor performance Graze pasture Getting started n Paddock selection n Duration n Species selected n Establishment tive. Farmer groups may choose to begin with any of the four workshops or selected components within them. The workshops are followed by on-farm planning, monitoring and evaluation. Four basic resources have been developed for each workshop – reference manual, workbook, facilitator process notes and slides, to be used during the delivery of each workshop. The reference manual and workbook are provided to all workshop participants, and the pro- cess notes and slides to workshop facilitators. Participants also receive a PRECaPS decision-sup- port model, which enables whole-farm economic analy- sis. It is a steady-state interactive model consisting of many worksheets based on Microsoft Excel, which enables the whole-farm economic comparison of sys- tems over rotation cycles of up to 10 years. PRECaPS is able to compare crop and crop/pasture rotation scenarios set by the operator on a site-specific basis based on seasonal conditions, market strategy and individual farm management. It incorporates risk analy- sis based on yield (or production) and price-risk prob- abilities, producing outputs that enable the operator to view the range of outcomes associated with different seasonal and price variables. PRECaPS enables farmers to quantitatively assess the economic impact of chang- ing farm management systems. LeyGrain in action -- local usage and national rollout During its development, LeyGrain was ‘road tested’ and well received by farmer groups. PRECaPS has effectively demonstrated that crop/pasture enterprises provide greater economic resilience than cropping-alone enterprises and are more profitable, except in very good seasons when crop commodity prices are high. The strength of LeyGrain is its strategic, overview process in which the delivery of knowledge and skills can be complemented by research at any field level. In its extension process, it seeks and acknowledges best management practice by farmers in the process of pro- viding information and developing skills. If research is conducted within its framework, it will enable farmers to understand and implement more of the known – and gain an immediate benefit from the unknown. LeyGrain does not pretend to have all the answers on the ley farming sub-system. However, it enables exper- tise to be introduced when needed. Above all, LeyGrain enables farmers to make choices. The area sown to ley pastures has increased from 10 to 21 per cent of cropping land in the northern grainbelt with the onset of better summer seasons and livestock prices. Some of this impetus in the past three years can be attributed to LeyGrain. Additionally, it has reinforced the need to maintain crop/pasture infrastructure on mixed farms in this area. In 2005–06, LeyGrain was accepted as a pastures extension tool in the Border Rivers and Maranoa/ Balonne Grain & Graze projects, where it is being deliv- ered to 11 farmer groups. LeyGrain is now also being developed and modi- fied for use nationally in Grain & Graze projects in southern and western Australia. The project team at QDPIF is working with NSW DPI (Dr Libby Roesner), South Australian Research and Development Institute (Dr Carolyn de Koning and Jake Howie) and the Department of Agriculture and Food, WA (Dr Clinton Revell) to fine-tune the package according to the farm- ing and grazing systems in those areas. At the same time, the package for northern Australia is also being improved to better meet producers’ requirements. These new packages will be available before December 2006. David Lloyd is principal agronomist (pastures) with the Queensland Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries. GRDC Research Code DAQ529 More information: David Lloyd, 07 4688 1261, firstname.lastname@example.org MAKING A DIFFERENCE ON-FARM FIGURE 1 LEYGRAIN: WHEN TO PLANT, WHEN TO REMOVE Farmers discussing pasture species at a LeyGrain workshop in Chinchilla, Queensland.
GC Supplement - Growers sharing knowledge
GC Supplement - Subsoil constraints