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TAS Country : February 17th 2011
Friday, February 18, 2011 Tasmanian Country 17 News Grass is greener after trial STRONG GROWTH: Farmers gather to learn ways of making their pastures more productive and less damaging to the environment. LAND CARE: Pasture cropping expert Colin Seis leading the workshop Picture: JENNIFER CRAWLEY Up to 50 farmers attended a field day last month on Graeme Isles' property, Spring Valley west of Oatlands, to see first-hand the results of an NRM South-funded pasture cropping trial. Jennifer Crawley reports If you own a disc plough get a bloody big bulldozer and bury it.' FARMERS came from as far as the North-West and North-East to hear pasture cropping pion- eer Colin Seis speak about how to grow better pasture. Mr Seis, from new South Wales, was blunt with his ad- vice. ''If you own a disc plough get a bloody big bulldozer and bury it,'' Mr Seis said ''Disc ploughs and animal traffic compact the soil, no car- bon in it. ''You can grow perennial pas- tures if the soil is right and the microbes are there.'' Pasture cropping --- sewing cereal crops directly into native perennial pastures --- is taking off in the Southern Midlands. Ploughing is a no-no and per- ennial species are never killed. Crops are direct drilled and weeds are controlled by manage- ment of livestock and minimal use of herbicide. Property owner Graeme Isles uses cell grazing or time con- trolled grazing to protect the soil on his 1425ha farm. The Isles grow merinos and fat lambs and trade cattle when thereisabitofgrassandabitof money. ''This country is called brittle country here,'' Mr Isles said. ''Lots of grass falls over and breaks.'' Sheep spend a short period of time in each Spring Valley pad- dock where there is no pure native pasture but a few intro- duced perennial and annuals. ''We see pasture cropping as a really good way to regenerate and reinvigorate rundown pas- ture and mind the environ- ment,'' Mr Isles said. Midlands Council native veg- etation field officer Graham Green co-ordinated the pasture trial. Setbacks like drought and frost did not deter the team. ''It may not look impressive,'' Mr Green said. ''We started on a very chal- lenging site, a degraded north- facing slope, it was a tough ask. ''The trial started in May, the first setback was a very dry spell and then a lot of frost but the oats did come up and got going in October.'' Mr Isles pointed to a lucerne paddock at the bottom of the hill that had never been sprayed and never fertilised. He said the lucerne was big- ger, thicker, and very much stronger than ever. ''This is my best soil [on the hill] and I want to get my perennial pastures up here,'' he added. Blaze and graze can go together JENNIFER CRAWLEY GRAZING doesn't always stop blaz- ing, a University of Tasmania study has found. James Kirkpatrick from the School of Geography and Environmental Studies said grazing sometimes increased the likelihood of fire in some vegetation. ''Many graziers argue that the countryside is not being looked after if it is not grazed, because livestock remove the fuel that support wild- fires,'' he said. Experiments were conducted by Prof Kirkpatrick's team at different locations, including lawn grassland, tussock grassland, healthy forest and sedgeland. Sites were fenced and monitored to see how much and what components of the vegetation were consumed by grazers, mostly wallabies and wom- bats, but also sheep at some sites. At many of the sites, fire potential and fuel load were measured before and for two years after fire. ''Grazing, either by itself, or after fire, had little effect on flammability where shrubs and sedges covered the ground,'' Prof Kirkpatrick said. ''Grazing is irrelevant to fire haz- ard in these vegetation types. ''The grazing of tussock grasslands increased their flammability, be- cause the grazing animals removed live shoots, leaving a high concen- tration of dead shoots, which in- creased the chances that these sites would burn.'' Lawn grasslands were maintained in a continuously regenerating state by grazing. There was rarely enough veg- etation to sustain a fire, because in this vegetation type, the grazing animals ate all the fuel, he said. Wanted Urgently for Local Clients 2000 -- 1 Yr Merino Wethers must be above average wool cutters and foot rot free. Ian Richards Mob: 0458 130 596 AH 6327 3229 2027442-110218 For Sale 40 Friesian and FsnX cows and heifers calving from 1 March Qty White Suffolk rams Ph. Peter Collins 0427 547 145 15 Friesian cows calving from March Qty yearling and 2 y.o. stud Jersey bulls Ph. Frank Steers 0418 141 081 57 Friesian cows in milk calving Spring 13 Xbred cows calving from 15 March 20 Xbred heifers calving from 1 March 25 Black Murray Grey heifers ready to join Ph. Bernard Atkins 0417 593 158 Wanted to Buy Qty store cattle - all types Ph. Greg Duke 0407 882 595 Qty Xbred dairy heifer calves from 6 - 12 mths Qty store cattle - British bred steers and heifers Ph. Bernard Atkins 0417 593 158 Chopper Cows and Bulls wanted -- top prices paid. Phone your local Vicstock agent. Tasmania 2056256-110218 DAIRY CATTLE NEW EXPORT ORDER CHINA Holstein Friesian heifers - from 100kg upwards Buying NOW - Top Dollars offered on inspection Give your local Vicstock agent a call to quote on your calves before you sell. GST may apply. Phone a Vicstock Agent First. Bernard Atkins .............................. 0417 593 158 Frank Steers .................................. 0418 141 081 Adam Crawford .......................... 0400 550 412 Peter Collins ................................. 0427 547 145 Kurtis Grey.................................... 0428 562 718 Greg Duke ................................... 0407 882 595 (North West / State Manager) (North) (North West) (Export Co-ordinator) (North East) (South)
February 10th 2011
February 24th 2011