Perennial & annual pasture system providing liveweight gains

FEED365 is a DPIRD led project, designed to maximise forage production and work toward year-round feed for livestock. This year, the WMG site at Gillingarra has had fantastic results, where a paddock of established perennials has been oversown with a mix of forage cereals and lupins. There was a focus in 2023 to increase soil fertility and species diversity, building on the vetch seed bank from previous years. A successful year would see increasing dry matter production and increasing the grazing intensity without negatively effecting groundcover. The goal was to create a resilient paddock that could maintain soil health and feed production.

Cattle were weighed immediately before and after grazing. The treatment paddock was able to sustain an average daily gain of 1.4kg which surpassed the control (perennials only) average daily gain of 0.4kg. This result suggests that we are on the right track! The increase in feed quality is a major factor driving this success. In 2024, in consultation with DPIRD and the goals of the host farmer, we will be looking at how to maintain this success. A key consideration is the livestock market that farmers are working under. Although it is possible to get fantastic results, it may not always be economically viable.

Also happening in 2024, we’re gearing up for a new FEED365 site at Warradarge. The focus will be setting up a productive permanent pasture paddock through a regenerating serradella and cereal mix. The hardiness of forage cereals and the nitrogen fixation of the serradella should create a durable, sustainable, and nutrient dense pasture that is suited to the sandy (and windy) Warradarge environment.

For anyone interested in the FEED365 project or the new developments at Warradarge, please feel free to reach out.

Melanie Dixon
Mixed Farming Systems Officer, WMG

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