On-Farm Options – Feedbase and pasture species
This page provides a collection of resources from across regions to assist in making the right choices to improve the feedbase. Refer to research, case studies and demonstration sites in your regional package for examples of how different feedbase improvement options have been applied in your region, and the potential impact.
Applying EverGraze principles for improvement of the feedbase
The online Pastures for Place and Purpose EverGraze Exchange is a good place to start when considering pasture improvement. The page explains how the EverGraze principle Right Plant, Right Place, Right Purpose, Right Management can be applied for improvement of pastures to meet farm business objectives. The process applies to both existing pastures, as well as long-term planning for selection and establishment of new pastures.
EverGraze Proof Sites at Hamilton, Wagga Wagga and Albany tested and modelled the value of different improved perennial pasture combinations. Key messages relating to the production, persistence and profitability results are available on the following pages;
- Hamilton EverGraze Proof Site key message – Right Plant, Right Place, Right Purpose, Right Management
- Wagga Wagga EverGraze Proof Site key message – Right plant, right place and sustainable grazing management leads to persistent pastures
- Albany Proof Site key messages – Adding 25% perennials will give the highest gross margins; and Kikuyu, chicory and panic persist through dry seasons.
Low input native pastures also play an important role in a large proportion of farms across southern Australia. Applying EverGraze principles for profitable use of native pastures was examined at Orange, Chiltern/Holbrook and Tamworth EverGraze Proof Sites. Further resources for native pastures are provided below.
Dividing up the farm
The EverGraze Action (Online) – Dividing up the farm for grazing management provides a guide for mapping the farm according to production zone or land class for selection, establishment and management of pastures.
Use and management of pasture species
Following are a list of EverGraze resources and web pages for the use and management of key pasture species for southern Australia.
Also see EverGraze Proof Site pages where a range of different species were used in systems at Wagga Wagga (phalaris, tall fescue and lucerne), Hamilton (perennial ryegrass, tall fescue, lucerne, chicory and kikuyu), Albany (kikuyu, panic, chicory, lucerne and tall fescue), Tamworth (native pastures, lucerne/grass mixtures, oats), Holbrook (native pastures and phalaris), Chiltern (native pastures) and Orange (native pastures). Case studies in each region also provide examples of how a range of species can be used in local environments. Techniques for measuring pastures is essential whether assessing the herbage present in a pasture, examining changes in growth or pasture quality during the growing season, studying the influence, on the sward, of a range of superimposed treatments, or investigating the effects of pathogens on plant production.
Regional pasture growth rates
Details of how to estimate pasture growth on your own farm are shown here.
Temperate perennial grass-based pastures
- EverGraze Action – Grazing phalaris for production and persistence
- Broadford Grazing Experiment (Grazing management of phalaris)
- EverGraze Action – Growing and using summer active tall fescue
- EverGraze Action – Growing and using winter active tall fescue in southern Australia
- Hamilton EverGraze research message – Summer active tall fescue provides autumn feed in poorly drained soils.
Tropical perennial grass-based pastures (also referred to as sub-tropical grasses)
- EverGraze Action – Growing kikuyu for summer feed and soil cover
- EverGraze Action – Growing and using Kikuyu in WA
- Albany EverGraze research message – kikuyu, chicory and panic persist through dry seasons
Other tropical grasses
- Further information on tropical grasses can be found on these links at the NSW DPI website and the DAFWA website.
Perennials for WA
Legumes for temperate pastures
- EverGraze Action – Growing and using lucerne
- Hamilton EverGraze research message – Lucerne reduces risk, provides options for livestock and prevents salinity
- Wagga Wagga EverGraze research message – More lucerne increases production and profit
- Albany EverGraze research message – perennials for finishing lambs
- Tamworth EverGraze research message – Lucerne-grass mixes
Future Farm Industries CRC is conducting research on new perennial legumes for temperate Australia. The following pages provide details of the projects and their findings.
- Tedera – a new perennial legume for dry Mediterranean climates
- Messina – a salt and water logging tolerant legume
- EverGraze Action – Growing and using Chicory in WA
- EverGraze Action – Growing and using Chicory on the East Coast
Identifying native pastures
- Poster – Identifying native perennial grasses
- Native pastures of the eastern Namoi
- Native pastures for sustainable agriculture – NE Victoria
- Native pastures of the Bundarra district
Managing native pastures
- EverGraze Action – Managing native pastures in Victoria
- Estimating feed availability of native perennial pastures
- Orange EverGraze research message – Landscape variability can be identified, mapped and managed
- Orange EverGraze research message – Composition of pastures with a high native perennial component is stable under managed grazing
- Orange EverGraze research message – The effect of grazing intensity on production and profit from native pastures
- Chiltern EverGraze research message – Composition and production from native pastures in response to fertiliser and rotational grazing
- Chiltern EverGraze research message – Lamb production from native pastures at Chiltern EverGraze Proof Site
- Chiltern EverGraze research message – Microlaena ecology and management
- EverGraze Action – Assessing conservation value of native vegetation on farm in Northern NSW (tool land-holders)
- EverGraze Booklet – Assessing conservation value of native vegetation on farm in Northern NSW: A guide for assessing the conservation value of box gum grassy woodlands on the Northwest Slopes of NSW
- Tamworth EverGraze Proof Site key message: Conservation of Box Gum grassy woodlands on the North West Slopes of NSW is best achieved through on-farm management of high quality remnant patches.
Edible shrubs and perennial grasses for shelter
The Future Farm Industries CRC project Enrich has completed research on shrubs for grazing in the low and medium rainfall zones. Further information is provided here.
EverGraze conducted research on the benefits of using tall wheat grass, phalaris and shrubs for shelter during lambing. The following resources provide information on this research and application on farm:
- EverGraze Action – Perennial grass hedgerows provide shelter at lambing
- EverGraze research message – Shelter increases lamb survival
- EverGraze Case Study: Curries – sheltering their lamb income
- EverGraze Case Study: Saltbush hedgerows – trading low productivity for high protection.
Pasture establishment is costly, and it’s important to get it right the first time. Following is a list of useful guides for establishing perennial pastures, and assessing the potential return on investment.
Establishment of temperate perennials
- Eight Steps to Successful Perennial Pasture Establishment (DPI NSW)
- A Simple Guide to Perennial Pasture Establishment (DEPI Vic)
- Pasture establishment – how to get it right (DAFWA)
- Pasture Recovery Quick Reference Guide Fact Sheet (DEPI Vic)
Establishment of tropical perennials
- Tropical Perennial Grasses Guide 1: Planning ahead
- Tropical Perennial Grasses Guide 2: Weed control
- Tropical Perennial Grasses Guide 3: Seed quality
- Tropical Perennial Grasses Guide 4: Sowing rates
- Tropical Perennial Grasses Guide 5: Sowing machinery
- Tropical Perennial Grasses Guide 6: Sowing time and depth
- Tropical Perennial Grasses Guide 7: Fertilisers
- Tropical Perennial Grasses Guide 8: Grazing management
- Tropical Perennial Grasses Guide 9: Pasture quality
- Tropical Perennial Grasses Guide 10: Root depths
- DAFWA also provides a Farmnote for Establishing sub-tropical perennial grasses in WA.
Crunching the numbers
- Guide to assessing the costs and benefits of pasture establishment
- Using the EverGraze Pasture Improvement Calculator to assess the costs and benefits of establishing pastures.
- Research sites at Hamilton, Wagga and Albany provide details of economic benefit of implementing perennial systems.
- The following Victorian and WA farmer case studies (from EverGraze Supporting Sites) provide detailed economic analysis of establishing perennials;
- Creightons Creek (NE Vic) – establishing phalaris compared to improving existing phalaris
- Ararat (SW Vic) – establishing lucerne and phalaris
- Kyneton (NE Vic) – establishing phalaris, perennial ryegrass and chicory
- Seymour (NE Vic) – establishing phalaris compared to annual ryegrass
- Tallangatta Valley (NE Vic) – establishing tall fescue/cocksfoot mix
- Surf Coast (SW Vic) – an example of when establishing new pastures had poor returns
- Woogenellup (WA) – establishing lucerne and fescue mix
- Kojonup (WA) – comparing kikuyu to annual pastures
- Manjimup (WA) – comparing tall fescue to annual ryegrass/sub clover pastures
- Oyster Harbour (WA) – comparing tall fescue with annual pasture
- Esperance (WA) – comparing kikuyu to annual pasture