Burlington grazing trials

Background information

Pastures are the basis on which all livestock operations are built.  Below is the latest information relating to pasture varieties, performance and managment, which will assist producers in ensuring they have a productive and persistent feedbase year-round.

A range of new and existing Tasmanian pasture cultivars are being comparatively trialled to determine their relative animal and plant production potentials.  The aim of the research is to quantify the performance of new pasture species and cultivars — developed through TIA’s Herbage Development Program — relative to species and cultivars typically used by Tasmanian producers.

Pasture types

TIA
Arrotas | Uplands | MegatasExceltas | KuratasPermatas | Hytas | CreepaCanaritas | Rubitas

PGG Wrightson
Banquet II | Flecha Max P | Kaituna Lucerne

TasGlobal Seeds
Victoca

Pasture management

Pastures have been established in trial plots of 0.5 hectares and each treatment has four replicates.

Pasture plots are grazed when the grass reaches the optimal leaf stage for grazing. For example, plots are grazed at the three-leaf stage for ryegrass and four-leaf stage for cocksfoot.

Dry matter (DM) cuts are taken using a mower cutting to the top of the crown before lambs are let in to graze plots. This provides an indication of herbage production and reflects the amount of green feed available.

Grazing management

Two flocks are used for grazing — a liveweight gain group is offered fresh unlimited feed to produce liveweight data and a clean-up groups grazes the pasture to the desired residual level to produce grazing days data.

The liveweight gain group grazes for seven days on the first plot of a particular pasture, and is then moved to the next plot of that same pasture for seven days.

As each pasture is sown in four plots, the liveweight gain group grazes each pasture for 28 days (rotated through weekly).

Following the liveweight group, the clean-up group size is allocated depending on the residual feed available for five days. The number of lambs in the clean-up group can vary from 0 lambs to 80 lambs.

Grazing does not re-commence until the pasture type reaches its optimal leaf stage for grazing.

Flock management

Mini flocks of liveweight gain groups are allocated to each pasture.

Each flock group is identical — the same proportion of weight ranges, sex and breed. These mini flocks are randomly selected from the main flock.

Data collected

All lambs are monitored for:
– Pre and post grazing weight
– Dag score
– Faecal score
– Temperament
– Condition score.

All measurements are linked back to pasture type grazed.

Results

Include:
– pasture summary, observations
– sheep breed, class, age, condition etc.
– seasonal conditions
– results (updated graph – weight, condition, dag)
– discussion of results

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Key contacts

Brian Field, Centre Leader, Extensive Agriculture Centre, TIA
M: 0408 135 810 |  E: brian.field@utas.edu.au