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Eastwood Report. Sheep production on buffel grass pasture. The ‘Eastwood’ grazing trial, 1967-1982.

Silcock, R. G. (2020) Eastwood Report. Sheep production on buffel grass pasture. The ‘Eastwood’ grazing trial, 1967-1982. Technical Report. State of Queensland.

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Abstract

This research project, coded Bkl P50 WR, ran for 15 years (1967-1982) to document the productivity and persistence of buffel grass (Cenchrus ciliaris L.) pasture sown into cleared gidyea shrubland in central-western Queensland. It was initiated when little objective data existed about the potential of such pasture on this newly developed country. Merino sheep were used as the grazing animal at stocking rates between 10 and 1.25 sheep/ha. Data collected concentrated on pasture yield and crown cover, pasture Nitrogen and Phosphorus content, sheep liveweight, wool growth and quality, fleece weight, faecal protein and phosphorus, and intestinal worm burden. Other data was collected on oestrus cycling in young ewes and the effect of differing grazing pressure on their conception rates. Seasonal conditions ranged from very dry to very wet at different stages and there were four distinct research phases which are reported separately.
Buffel grass proved highly productive and resilient under the grazing pressures applied and at least as productive as the highly regarded, local Mitchell grass country. However, sheep weight loss was common in winter after the grass was frosted. Optimal sustainable stocking rate was slightly greater than 2.5 Dry Sheep Equivalents (DSEs) /ha. The pasture lacked botanical diversity unless heavily overstocked when ephemeral herbs became common. No unexpected problems arose from the conversion of the gidyea scrub to open grassland. Woody regrowth was ever-present, particularly false sandalwood (Eremophila mitchellii), but did not seriously impinge on productivity in the pasture's first 20 years since clearing.
In light of the results, the use of buffel grass pastures in the region for cattle, goats and mixed species grazing is discussed. Potential long-term issues, both environmental and rural industry-related are discussed.

Item Type:Monograph (Technical Report)
Business groups:Animal Science
Subjects:Animal culture > Sheep > Meat production
Science > Statistics
Agriculture > Agriculture (General) > Documents and other collections
Agriculture > Agriculture (General) > Special aspects of agriculture as a whole > Sustainable agriculture
Agriculture > Agriculture (General) > Agricultural chemistry. Agricultural chemicals
Agriculture > Agriculture (General) > Agricultural ecology (General)
Agriculture > Agriculture (General) > Agriculture and the environment
Agriculture > Agriculture (General) > Soils. Soil science
Agriculture > Agriculture (General) > Agricultural meteorology. Crops and climate
Agriculture > Agriculture (General) > Agricultural conservation
Animal culture > Sheep
Animal culture > History and conditions
Animal culture > Rangelands. Range management. Grazing
Animal culture > Feeds and feeding. Animal nutrition
Animal culture > Sheep > Wool production
Deposited On:15 Feb 2021 04:30
Last Modified:03 Sep 2021 16:46

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