Pasture Update A Success

15th May 2015

 Over 80 farmers braved the cold weather on Wednesday 13th to attend GLENRAC’s Pasture Update at the Glen Innes Agricultural Research and Advisory Station. There was something for everyone, with presentations, farm visits, and farm machinery brought in by local contractors on display.

Fiona Leech from South East Local Land Services discussed her trial work investigating nine fertiliser products for use on native perennial pastures in the Yass district. “Farmers are always looking for more cost-effective ways to deliver phosphorus, given that it is a key driver of growth”, she said. “With this work we wanted to determine through a replicated, scientific trial the effectiveness of a number of products including single superphosphate, and a number of ‘alternative products’”.

Lewis Kahn from AIMS Ag continued the conversation on fertiliser use, noting that “fertiliser use in the local area is much less effective than on the Southern Tablelands. It is therefore so important to determine the deficiencies and toxicities that you need to address, prior to application of any soil treatment”, he said

Mark Trotter from UNE talked to the group about current progress on precision agriculture in pastures. Of particular interest to much of the audience was electronic fencing in sheep and cattle grazing systems, and development of ear tags to track individual animals. “This has the potential to not only track animals, but recording daily weight gains in commercial herds, detecting oestrus cycles, monitoring disease and predation through behavioural changes, are just some of the things we’ll be able to do with this technology”, he said.     

The day included a bus trip to Sam and Bea Baker’s property “Yirri North” to look at a newly sown pasture, and discuss the planning and operational process. Mick Duncan’s presentation in the morning was focussed on pasture establishment, and he was able to talk to the group about some of the practical considerations for Sam’s property.    

The Burridge family’s “Glendon Vale” was the final visit to look at tillage radish sown with Rasina vetch, where Henry and Ranald Burridge explained why they had included the radish in their cropping rotation. “The taproot pushes deep down into the soil and when radish dies, the root will break down. The decomposed root material will all go back into the soil contributing valuable organic matter, which will be beneficial to the following corn crop”, Henry said.        

Much of the information presented on the day, including some of Fiona’s trial data, is on the GLENRAC website www.glenrac.org.au. There are also links to further resources discussed on the day. 

This event was held in conjunction with Meat and Livestock Australia, and the Grassland Society of NSW Inc. GLENRAC would like to thank everyone involved, with particular mention to the machinery exhibitors, the Baker and Burridge families for their contributions. 

Picture - Field day attendees inspect tillage radish and vetch at "Glendon Vale"