Right Plant, Right Place, Right Purpose, Right Management
EverGraze set out to increase profitability by 50% while maintaining ground cover, perenniality and reducing salinity risk through increasing water use. To achieve this goal, the project designed and implemented grazing systems which integrated strategically placed perennial pastures (improved and native), high performance livestock genotypes, appropriate animal and pasture management. Both meat and wool livestock systems were assessed in the project. The principles were as follows;
- The right perennial plant put in the right place for the right purpose with the right management, improves profitability and natural resource management simultaneously;
- Strategic investment in perennials needs to be combined with high performance livestock and optimum tactical management to achieve desired outcomes;
- The right combination of perennial species across the farm and their management creates flexibility and options to reduce seasonal risk and create market options.
Running a profitable and sustainable livestock enterprise is all about optimising systems over both the short term (staying profitable in an adverse season or market scenario) and the long term (having the right production system to remain viable). Soils, feedbase, management, livestock and marketing add together to build the production system. As links in a chain, it’s important that all components are given equal emphasis as the overall system will be limited by the weakest link. Concentrating on one aspect and getting it perfect (eg. grazing management) will not overcome a major deficiency in another (eg. soil fertility).
The EverGraze Exchange: Selecting pastures for place and purpose provides a process for considering each element of the farm system and applying the EverGraze principles for on-farm decision-making. Producers take stock of where they are at, where they want to be, and establish options for change. Different options are assessed for their likely impact on financial, production, risk, environment and lifestyle factors for individual farms. The process described forms the basis of a facilitated course, “Whole Farm Grazing Strategies” which is available throughout the high rainfall zone of southern Australia.