Northern slopes of New South Wales
The Tamworth Proof Site is studying animal production systems using both native and sown perennial pastures applicable to the high rainfall regions of the Namoi and Border Rivers-Gwydir catchments. Farms in the region are characterised by large variations in the proportion of sown and native pastures, livestock enterprises, grazing management and input levels. Annual forage crops are widely used to overcome feed gaps but can lead to soil erosion. Maintaining ground cover and reducing soil erosion are major environmental issues in the region.
There is large amount of research currently available on native and improved pastures and animal feed requirements for the region, but because of the variable soils, climate, topography, and animal enterprises on individual farms there is no one single profit and NRM outcome applicable to all farms.
Because of this variability, EverGraze in Northern NSW is taking a different approach in the Proof Site compared to other areas. The research team will collect detailed information from 18 properties across the region representing the different management systems, pastures and forages used. This data will be used in a computer model developed for the regions to answer “what if” scenarios and to account for effects of climate variability and climate change.
The research program at Tamworth is split into several components:
On farm monitoring
Eighteen properties have been selected across the catchments from Nundle and Wallabadah in the south and east to Barraba and Mt Kaputar in the north and west.
On these properties, 26 flocks of sheep have been selected and are measured for fat score, liveweight, lambing performance and fleece characteristics. The pastures and forage crops that these flocks graze will also be assessed when the sheep enter and leave each paddock. These assessments will include herbage mass, proportion of green and dead, proportion of legume, proportion of perennials and ground cover.
Experiments will be undertaken to compare the competitiveness of lucerne with several temperate pastures (phalaris, forage oats, chicory, subterranean clover) and sub tropical grasses. Some catchment scale modelling will also be undertaken to assess the impact of lucerne mixtures on ground water recharge and salinity.
A detailed survey will be developed and distributed to producers in the catchment via DPI advisors in the region. This survey will ask producers about their current pastures and livestock, how they overcome feed shortages, grazing systems, and attitudes to profitability, management and sustainability.
The survey will help to establish attitudes within the grazing industry to the types of pastures grown, the enterprises run, and how well feed requirements are met with the pastures grown.
The research will provide regional benchmarks that graziers can use to assess what aspects of their grazing business (soils, pastures, animal performance, grazing enterprises or management) are limiting their profitability and environmental impacts and ways to improve their performance.
Site Leader is Greg Lodge, NSW DPI, Tamworth
T: (02)6763 1176
E: firstname.lastname@example.org or contact us online click here
More information is available from the Northern NSW (Tamworth) Proof Site brochure