Perennials : are you deep rooted?
Perennials pastures are pastures that exist over many years. They are becoming increasingly important in grazing systems as they offer many advantages over pastures that only include annual species. These benefits include better livestock production, improved financial return and a healthier environment.
Perennials can provide feed all year round, still being active over summer. As they are deeper rooted and active for longer periods of time than annuals they utilize more water, making them excellent for waterlogged soils. This also makes them an important tool in reducing the threat of salinity, especially in the upper catchment.
Perennial pastures have nutrient advantages as well, utilizing your fertilizer more effective. This is especially true if combined with management of waterlogged soils, allowing split fertiliser applications.
Perennials also have an important role in soil health, improving soil structure and providing cover all year round and so reducing the risk of top soil erosion.
Like all pastures it is important to chose the best species for your needs and learn how to manage them for maximum production and successful establishment. A range of perennial pastures is now available to suit different grazing situations.
For more information on perennial pastures please call Arjen Ryder at the Department of Agriculture and Food on 9892-8444 or read the Perennials Rule of thumb
The Wilson Inlet Catchment Committee can provide you with financial assistance of up to $60ha to establish perennial pastures.
Perennial pastures are not the only perennials landowners should consider as part of their property and farm management, woody perennials should also be designed into your farm plan to complement the grazing system.
Alley farming crops, such as trees for timber or chip and shrubs for oils or flowers, are some examples of ways to diversify your business.
The effective use of woody perennials can also provide long term economic and environmental benefits. Trees are especially good in reducing water logging (by planting upslope of the discharge zone), improving soil health, providing stock shelter and reducing wind erosion. They also have the wider benefit of helping reduce global warming and providing a sustainable source of timber.
There are a range of organisations that can help you with woody perennials. These include the Forest Products Commission on 9845-5630.