Boosting profit and reducing risk on mixed farms in low and medium rainfall areas with newly discovered legume pastures enabled by innovative management methods – Western region (Dryland pasture legume systems).
Growers have shifted their focus from livestock to crops over the last 30 years, however continuously cropped paddocks are not sustainable and come with high risk, especially in dry areas where wheat cultivation dominates. Intensive cropping is susceptible to herbicide resistant weeds, requires large nitrogen fertiliser inputs, and there are significant financial implications when yields are restricted by frost or dry conditions. There are also indicators of reduced sustainability under these intensive systems which include increases in areas of saline seeps. This work builds on a pilot project undertaken in the medium rainfall zones of Western Australia and southern New South Wales which demonstrated how novel pasture legumes improve livestock production through enhanced growth and reproduction, and earlier access to markets, while dramatically reducing fertiliser and herbicide inputs for following crops.
This collaborative project with MLA and AWI will develop recently discovered pasture legumes together with innovative management techniques to improve profitability for mixed farms (cropping and livestock) in the low and medium rainfall areas of Western Australia. The new legume varieties will reduce nitrogen requirements, increase soil fertility, reduce weeds and diseases for following crops and be a source of quality feed for livestock. The project will also develop whole farm economic modelling to equip farmers with tools to adopt new pasture varieties and management practices.
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- Murdoch University
- Key Investment Target:
20 Jan 2021
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