Two years of feed in three months

Earlier in the month (April 8) BIGG held an Autumn Pasture Walk, with attendees visiting out of season forage crops and also a centre pivot.

First stop of the pasture walk was John Tuesners at Keyneton, where last September John sowed a paddock of forage brassica (Leafmore).  Between December-March, approximately 4.0t dry matter/ha was grown, which provided three separate grazings for his ewes and lambs. Even given the cost to establish the brassica, this level of production compares very favourably to feeding out a similar quality feed source such as vetch hay.

Next stop was Rocland Estate at Nuriootpa where wastewater from the winery is being managed with a centre pivot. Winery manager, Ian Craig gave an overview of the pivot and associated water management, which covers a 3.5ha area. In late March, Keyneton farmer, Michael Sagenschnitter sowed a winter wheat crop (DS Bennett), which later in the year he plans to cut for silage and then hay. This is the third year a crop has been sown under the pivot and is a smart way of managing wastewater whilst value adding to local agriculture.

Final stop of the pasture walk was Tracy Bonython’s of Bon Chevon at Ebenezer where last November a paddock of forage brassica (Greenland) and millet (Shirohie) was sown. The pasture mix has ‘hung in there’ but unfortunately hasn’t reached its potential given the later than planned sowing date and dry summer.

The afternoon finished with some great discussion about the use of mixed species in local grazing systems, including their production potential (two years of feed in three months!) and soil and animal health benefits.

Thanks to BIGG sponsors/local agronomists; Craig John, Coopers Farm Supplies and Peter Wendt, Farmer Johns for their support and valued input on the day. In addition, BIGG sponsors, Barenbrug and AGF Seeds attended the pasture walk. AGF Seeds also donated a bag of tillage radish as a ‘lucky door prize’, which was won by BIGG chair, Ian Koch!

This pasture walk was supported by the Murraylands and Riverland Landscape Board through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program and the landscape levies