PASTURE IMPROVEMENT

The term 'Pasture Improvement' is commonly used to describe re-sowing of pastures. There are many different activities such as applying lime or fertiliser that improve pasture performance but here the term will be discussed meaning the above.

 

When developing a grazing property the rate of pasture improvement is normally quite slow. This is because the property will be stocked and most paddocks will be committed to feeding those stock, allowing only a small area can be sown in any year. The process is also quite expensive which is a major limitation for most farmers. The planning cycle is quite long and the first weed control spray or cultivation needs to happen about two years before sowing.

 

Livestock grazing, if only to control weeds, plays an important role in the pasture improvement process. Grazing is even more important when wet seasonal conditions are experienced and weed growth is greater. If stocking arrangements can remain flexible such as with agistment or through running trading stock (fattening), more paddocks can be made available and the rate of pasture improvement across a farm can be accelerated.

Pastures establish very slowly and there is normally very little or no livestock grazing at all in the year of establishment. 

 

An extensive Pasture Improvement program could be as follows:

  1. Farm assessment and mapping
     

  2. Soil testing and agronomy program
     

  3. Preparation of a farm development master plan (Incl mapping paddock features) with detailed timeline of operations. 
     

  4. Preparation of a development budget

  5. Coordination of grazing, spraying, liming, fertilizing and sowing

  6. Reporting on milestones and budget