A field day hosted by the Barossa Improved Grazing Group (BIGG) last week educated Barossa Valley producers on identification and management of native grasses and the role they plan in native pasture production systems.
The event was held as part of a BIGG project investigating native pasture recovery following the 2014 Eden Valley bushfire, funded by Natural Resources Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges and Natural Resources SA Murray-Darling Basin. The day was attended by 26 Barossa Valley farmers, stakeholders and natural resources officers.
BIGG technical facilitator and Keyneton landholder Georgie Keynes said the field day featured native grass expert Millie Nicholls who helped producers identify native grasses and make their own plant reference guides.
“The native pastures we observed have recovered very well after the fires, with a lot of regeneration occurring, however Millie showed us the importance of monitoring these pastures carefully to ensure they are not overgrazed and will continue to recover,” Ms Keynes said.
Key lessons learnt during the field day included the benefits of growing a variety of species, such as grasses and herbs, to provide a complete diet for livestock, and the critical nature of resting pastures to promote growth, recovery and species regeneration.
“Allowing periods of grazing and resting is particularly important following this year’s bushfire. At the field day, we learnt that destocking burnt pastures now, while the grasses are setting seed, is important for recovery,” Ms Keynes said.
In 2015, the BIGG project will continue monitoring pastures in areas burnt-out by the fire to assess recovery, with soil testing starting over the next two months and fertiliser trials in 2015.
To learn more about the native pastures project visit www.biggroup.org.au or contact BIGG communication officer Rebecca Barr on 0402 788 526.