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Waterhouse Resilient Pasture Demonstration: Final Report


Smith, R and Hall, E and Hurst, A and Martin, G, Waterhouse Resilient Pasture Demonstration: Final Report, NRM North and the Australian Government, Hobart, Australia (2014) [Contract Report]

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The Waterhouse Resilient Pastures Demonstration site at Tomahawk was established in 2012 to demonstrate the attributes of newly developed and existing pasture cultivars. It aimed to assist with producer decision making and increase producer confidence in sowing perennial pasture species in the undulating coastal dune country typical of the Waterhouse region. A significant challenge in this area is maintaining perennial pasture cover on the dunes where livestock movement and wind erosion leads to large areas of sand being exposed. These areas then typically become infested with weedy broadleaf species such as capeweed and become hard to manage. This demonstration hoped to identify species that could persist and be productive for livestock grazing.

The demonstration evaluated the establishment and early production of 14 perennial grass and grass combinations, 14 perennial legume, 5 annual legume and 2 herb species/cultivars. The site was undulating with soils varying from raw sands on the dunes to peaty flats. This allowed grass species to be evaluated over varying conditions, while the legumes and herbs were matched to their adapted conditions.

Frequency counts as an index of establishment and persistence were recorded in Winter 2014, 20 months after sowing. In general across the whole site, tall fescue had the highest frequency scores of the grasses. Long-rotation ryegrass and perennial ryegrass also performed well on the flats, while there was little difference between the grass species on the dune. There was a significant amount of volunteer subterranean and white clover across the site which suggests they are very well adapted. Frequency counts of red clover, strawberry clover and plantain also indicate that they have potential on the flats. Lucerne, in particular the variegated lucerne which has a creeping growth habit appears well adapted to the dunes and has the potential over time to stabilise some of the dunes where maintaining perennial pasture covers has posed a challenge.

These early results provide some insight into the long term persistence of these pastures species in this environment. However, resurveying the demonstration site after 5 and 10 years will give a much sounder indication of these species ability to adapt and persist to this environment. This project was funded by NRM North through the Australian Government’s ‘Caring for our Country’ program.

Item Details

Item Type:Contract Report
Keywords:Resilient pastures, alternative species, pasture renovation
Research Division:Agricultural, Veterinary and Food Sciences
Research Group:Crop and pasture production
Research Field:Crop and pasture improvement (incl. selection and breeding)
Objective Division:Animal Production and Animal Primary Products
Objective Group:Pasture, browse and fodder crops
Objective Field:Sown pastures (excl. lucerne)
UTAS Author:Smith, R (Dr Rowan Smith)
UTAS Author:Hall, E (Mr Eric Hall)
UTAS Author:Hurst, A (Ms Andrea Hurst)
UTAS Author:Martin, G (Mr Gary Martin)
ID Code:118173
Year Published:2014
Deposited By:Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture
Deposited On:2017-07-05
Last Modified:2017-07-07

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