Bringing gains to low rainfall systems

A nine-year study of the impact of livestock on paddock health and farm productivity in a low rainfall environment has revealed grazing generates multiple benefits for mixed enterprises.

Conducted at Minnipa on the Eyre Peninsula, the study demonstrated many agronomic and financial advantages that can be achieved by incorporating livestock into the rotation.

The long-term study, which started in 2008, was undertaken by the South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI), a division of Primary Industries and Regions SA, as part of the Grains Research and Development Corporation’s (GRDC) Grain and Graze 3 research investment.

SARDI researcher Jessica Crettenden said the trial, based on a wheat-medic rotation, also tested whether productivity could be improved under a higher input system (higher fertiliser and seeding rates, establishment of improved pasture) compared with a lower input and more traditional system (district practice seed and fertiliser inputs, volunteer pasture), and what effect this had on soil fertility.

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