Blockbuster pasture walk for livestock producers

In its biggest ever pasture walk, the Barossa Improved Grazing Group (BIGG) will be visiting three major project trial sites on September 21.

Technical facilitator Georgie Keynes says the farming systems group are excited to share learnings from the projects with Barossa livestock producers.

“The blockbuster pasture walk is an opportunity for producers to learn from BIGGs trials and demonstration sites and network with industry experts. We will be visiting sites from all of our major projects looking at native pastures, rotational grazing, revegetation of watercourses and sub-clover root diseases,” she said.

The field walk will feature a field presentation and question and answer session with noted University of WA research agronomist Professor Martin Barbetti, who together with BIGG is investigating sub-clover root diseases through a three-year MLA funded Producer Research Site grant.

The field walk will start at Sedan Hill, where native pastures are recovering after the 2014 Eden Valley bushfire at a trial funded by Natural Resources Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges and Natural Resources SA Murray-Darling Basin.

“Our first trial site looks at the options for recovery of native grasses after fires, including a demonstration of the effects of phosphate fertiliser on native grasses. We will be talking about the best options for managing native grasses through the spring and summer seasons,” Georgie said.

“At the same location, we have another trial running to assess the cost versus benefit of rotationally grazing native grass pastures. Rotational, or cell, grazing is known to have some fantastic results in productivity, but the cost of setting these systems up in these hilly rocky areas are often limiting.”

The second visit will be to the group’s National Landcare Programme watercourse rehabilitation demonstration at Moculta.

“There are great NRM benefits from rehabilitating watercourses, but there is a cost associated, so we want to show producers how valuable revegetation can be, from reducing erosion potential, to improving water quality, and increased biodiversity. We’ve planted a range of plant communities including grasses, trees and shrubs, to help producers identify which options are best for them,” Georgie said.

The field day will finish off at the sub-clover trial site at Moculta, where Professor Barbetti will discuss the key sub-clover diseases in the Barossa and their effect on pasture productivity. The site also features a clover variety demonstration sown by Coopers of Mount Pleasant, where producers can view the performance of 25 different clover varieties.