Maximising pasture production

Producers will be able to maximise their pasture production in a variable climate following the results of an exciting new project from the Barossa Improved Grazing Group (BIGG).

Funded by Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) and a collaboration between BIGG and Barossa businesses Coopers of Mount Pleasant and Farmer Johns, the project aims to develop a more reliable feed-base responsive to the changing climate.

A range of pasture types have been sown including perennial and annual grasses, clovers and forage cereals at sites in Ebenezer, Eden Valley and Keyneton with seed donated by Pasture Genetics, Heritage Seeds, the University of Western Australia, SARDI Oat Breeding Program, SeedNet and Wrightson Seeds.

These sites will be regularly monitored for a range of outputs including feed value and dry matter production over the next three years, allowing producers to learn about varieties which are suited to their environments.

Project facilitator and livestock producer Georgie Keynes says the challenge is to optimise pasture productivity while anticipating variable seasonal conditions.

“As well as a feed-base that can handle different rainfall patterns, we are also looking for options that increase flexibility,” Georgie says.

“In recent years, climate change has been leading to variable rainfall patterns, late breaks, early finishes and more summer rainfall events. However most pasture feed-bases are still optimised for the traditional weather cycle of reliable, winter dominant rain.

“The advice we are receiving from climatologists is that rainfall is likely to be above-average in 2016 so we have included forage cereals that should run to head in a wet spring to be utilised for hay or silage.”

Producers will be able to assess the trials at pasture walks to be held through the year including the BIGG spring pasture walk on Friday September 16.
More information: or contact Georgie, 0409 287 261,