Making More from Sheep Australian Wool Innovation Limited Meat & Livestock Australia
MODULE 7: Grow More Pasture
What does this module do for you?

‘Pasture’ is any material being grazed by livestock, including annual and perennial pastures, forage crops, browse shrubs, dual purpose cereals and stubbles.

Although the pasture base and range of options differ, the procedures to ensure productive pasture systems are basically the same for properties with crop/pasture rotations and those with permanent pastures.

The components of pasture growth (this module) and pasture utilisation (Turn Pasture into Product) are strongly interrelated (see figure 7.1). All of the factors affecting pasture growth and utilisation (except rainfall) are within your control as the farm manager.

The productivity and profitability of many grazing enterprises in the high-rainfall and wheat–sheep zones of Australia can be greatly improved by increasing the amount of pasture grown. The quantity and quality of pasture, and when it can be grown, underpin strategic decisions such as time of lambing, flock structure, stocking rates and target markets. The health and fertility of the soil and stage of growth at which pasture is grazed have a major effect on pasture growth and quality. Developing your production system in areas that influence pasture growth and utilisation will boost your productivity and profitability.

About the procedures

Pasture is the cheapest source of feed for all grazing-based livestock enterprises; growing more of it at the right times of the year can create opportunities for you to increase stocking rates, increase lamb growth rates and reduce reliance on supplementary feeding.

This module contains three procedures, designed to help you grow more pasture on your property. It is often difficult to say where you will get the biggest gains in pasture growth.

Getting these procedures right will allow you to make best use of your farm’s physical resources such as rainfall, sunlight and soil type. Even though the environment presents some constraints, management has a large impact on how much pasture can be grown throughout the year and between years. This makes it difficult for sheep producers to know where to invest their time and dollars. Tool 7.1 is a ‘decision tree’ to help you work through the options so you can move straight to the procedure that is most likely to give the biggest gains.

Pasture production and grazing management in context

Pasture production and grazing management in context

Figure 7.1 Pasture growth (this module) is the foundation upon which livestock production is built. Grazing management (see Turn Pasture into Product) is the set of management actions and decisions that link pasture production with pasture utilisation and livestock production.


Module 7 Contents
7.1 Build and maintain soil fertility — overcome any nutrient deficiencies to ensure your pastures can make best use of the rainfall you receive. View Procedure
7.2 Graze to keep the desirable species productive and dominant — measure, manage and monitor your grazing tactics and grazing frequency to maximise pasture production, keep weeds under control and protect your farm’s natural assets. View Procedure
7.3 Establish new pastures — match the right pasture species to your mix of environment and land classes. View Procedure
7.1 Determining priorities for growing more pasture View Tool
7.2 Fertiliser test strips View Tool
7.3 Interpreting soil tests View Tool
7.4 Guidelines for fertiliser application View Tool
7.5 Grazing management guidelines for individual species View Tool
7.6 Pasture assessment techniques View Tool