Scanlan, Joe C. and McIvor, John G. and Bray, Steven G. and Cowley, Robyn A. and Hunt, Leigh P. and Pahl, Lester I. and MacLeod, Neil D. and Whish, Giselle L. (2014) Resting pastures to improve land condition in northern Australia: guidelines based on the literature and simulation modelling. The Rangeland Journal, 36 (5). pp. 429-443.
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Article Link(s): http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/RJ14071
Publisher URL: http://www.publish.csiro.au/paper/RJ14071
Pasture rest is a possible strategy for improving land condition in the extensive grazing lands of northern Australia. If pastures currently in poor condition could be improved, then overall animal productivity and the sustainability of grazing could be increased. The scientific literature is examined to assess the strength of the experimental information to support and guide the use of pasture rest, and simulation modelling is undertaken to extend this information to a broader range of resting practices, growing conditions and initial pasture condition. From this, guidelines are developed that can be applied in the management of northern Australia’s grazing lands and also serve as hypotheses for further field experiments. The literature on pasture rest is diverse but there is a paucity of data from much of northern Australia as most experiments have been conducted in southern and central parts of Queensland. Despite this, the limited experimental information and the results from modelling were used to formulate the following guidelines. Rest during the growing season gives the most rapid improvement in the proportion of perennial grasses in pastures; rest during the dormant winter period is ineffective in increasing perennial grasses in a pasture but may have other benefits. Appropriate stocking rates are essential to gain the greatest benefit from rest: if stocking rates are too high, then pasture rest will not lead to improvement; if stocking rates are low, pastures will tend to improve without rest. The lower the initial percentage of perennial grasses, the more frequent the rests should be to give a major improvement within a reasonable management timeframe. Conditions during the growing season also have an impact on responses with the greatest improvement likely to be in years of good growing conditions. The duration and frequency of rest periods can be combined into a single value expressed as the proportion of time during which resting occurs; when this is done the modelling suggests the greater the proportion of time that a pasture is rested, the greater is the improvement but this needs to be tested experimentally. These guidelines should assist land managers to use pasture resting but the challenge remains to integrate pasture rest with other pasture and animal management practices at the whole-property scale.
|Business groups:||Biosecurity Queensland|
|Keywords:||grazing systems, pasture management, productivity, spelling.|
|Subjects:||Animal culture > Rangelands. Range management. Grazing|
Science > Statistics > Simulation modelling
Agriculture > Agriculture (General) > Farm economics. Farm management. Agricultural mathematics
|Deposited On:||12 Jan 2015 01:23|
|Last Modified:||12 Jan 2015 01:23|
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