Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Rotational grazing on improved pasture in Douglas Daly

Sam McBean at Ruby Downs in the Douglas Daly area has been rotationally grazing for the past 4 years.

“We wanted to be able to increase our trading numbers over the wet season. To do that we needed to manage our pastures better so that we had more grass left going into the wet. We also wanted to subdivide paddocks that had gamba grass so we could manage that more effectively. But we didn’t want to invest in the infrastructure of a cell grazing system.

“We run about 1,000 cattle in 50ha paddocks. We have 15 paddocks at the moment and are slowly increasing. We don’t move them as much as cell grazing. In the wet we move them every three to four days so they get at least 6 weeks of rest. We move every two weeks in the dry (paddocks grazed twice in the dry).

“One of the benefits of rotational grazing is I think the grasses must have deeper roots and they can access water and freshen up as late as July. It definitely looks better.

“We’ve found that we can get a much better handle on managing grazing pressure. And you get a more even pasture, rather than being chewed out in the sweeter areas, it’s grazed more evenly. We try to fence to grass type because if there are two species in a paddock they still favour one.

“I don’t want to go to cell grazing just because of the time it takes. Rotational grazing would be good for our Sturt Plateau property as long as we could move the cattle effectively in the wet.”

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