Setting pasture targets

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The following list outlines the critical pasture limits for production and environmental protection:

  • To maintain maximum pasture growth, have a:
    • minimum pasture mass of 1,000kg green DM/ha
    • maximum pasture mass limit of 2,500kg green DM/ha, except when determining how much feed needs to be carried into a summer dry period when livestock is being carried over this period (ie breeding operations and often trading operations don’t carry stock through this period).
  • To optimise pasture performance throughout the year and minimise pasture decline, have a:
    • maximum total pasture mass of 1,500kg DM/ha prior to the autumn break to promote clover germination and growth and to maximise tillering of perennial grasses and to prevent aerial tillering of perennial ryegrass.
    • minimum pasture mass during the growing season of around 1,000kg DM/ha for high pasture quality and yield.
  • To prevent water and wind erosion and protect the resource base:
    • minimum residual pasture mass of around 800kg DM/ha depending on pasture density
    • depending on rainfall (pattern and intensity) and soil type, maintain at least 70% groundcover (including leaf, dead and litter material plus dung) on grazed lower to middle slopes (landclass 3) and a minimum of 100% groundcover on non-arable upper to steep slopes (land classes 4 and 5).

For more detailed information, refer to the Tips & Tools published by MLA. Visit www.mla.com.au/publications to search for these for handy factsheets on pastures, weeds and grazing management.