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Pasture - Wikipedia

These typically include high-energy and high-protein components such as soya, maize, wheat or pulses such as peas and beans. Intensive livestock production relies upon these to accelerate animal growth and production.


They often have a shorter lifespan and experience a more stressful life than those fed more naturally. The production of crops such as soya can often have a severe environmental impact, particularly in South America, where rainforest continues to be cleared to produce animal feed.

The production of maize in the UK is also being increasingly linked to soil degradation and water pollution. The Certification Standards ensure that animals must be able to graze pastures when the grass is growing in the fields. In the winter months they can be given conserved pasture in the form of hay or silage or other agreed forms of forage.


Sheep are managed in two main mobs of head and rotated around 75 paddocks in a time-control rotational grazing technique. Introducing time-control grazing necessitated a denser pattern of fencing to increase the number of paddocks from 10 to A central laneway provides an efficient way to move sheep around the property.

Over 70 small dams supply stock water as there are no creeksor rivers on Winona. These dams have high water levels and are maintained mainly through lateral underground flow. The combination of the soil type and maintaining a complete groundcover ensures that all rainfall infiltrates. Colin recognises that trees provide stock shelter and that it is essential to replace the old paddock trees that are nearing the end of their life span. He has planted over single paddock trees, aiming to restore the original s cover, estimated to be about two trees a hectare. As they establish, the single trees are protected from stock with guards.

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In addition, around 15, local native trees and shrubs have been planted in belts to form wildlife corridors and to link areas of remnant native vegetation. Vertical stacking enables three uses of the native grassland in each paddock - native seed harvesting, grain cropping oats and wheat and grazing sheep for wool and meat. The three land uses are rotated seasonally, annually and every years, depending of the prevailing seasonal conditions such as soil moisture, rainfall and temperature.

Native grass seed is harvested in summer C4 species and autumn C3 species. Grain crops are direct drilled into the winter dormant native pasture at the end of autumn and harvested in summer. Sheep graze each paddock once each season, approximately 3 days every 90 days, the highest frequency of the land use rotations. Extensive soil testing on Winona has shown that eliminating all cultivation other than the direct drilling for pasture cropping, together with rotational grazing, has enabled dramatic improvements in soil condition.

This equates to storage of around tonnes of CO 2 equivalent a hectare. Seventy-eight per cent of newly sequestered carbon is in the humic fraction of the soil [ 1 ]. This is non-labile, therefore much more stable and significantly less subject to degradation. Increase in soil microbial numbers and species diversity has resulted in better nutrient cycling and greater potential for increasing soil carbon. Soil tests conducted in September revealed carbon levels at the various depths as shown in the table. Colin notes that his landscape has developed a real resilience, with relatively stable production regardless of rainfall.

Grass Is the Moneymaker

Many biodiversity improvements are apparent since the changes to management of Winona. Vegetation changes are being monitored on six metre long survey lines transects.

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Winona is now a diverse, functioning native grassland with over 50 native species. As Colin points out, this change was created, not with herbicides, but with groundcover. Using herbicides can help is some circumstances but can also kill desirable species, such as the perennial pasture species.

Monitored bird numbers and diversity includes around species. Sparrows and starlings that were common prior to s are no longer observed on Winona. Few marsupial species were observed prior to s and now marsupial diversity has also increased, including grey kangaroos, swamp and red necked wallabies and wallaroos. A large increase of spiders in pastures has delivered a more stable balance to the insect populations and provided biological control of problem insects like red leg earth mite.

Additionally, Winona now produces and sells about one tonne of native grass seed annually to farmers and for landscape rehabilitation. Colin is also investigating the economics of harvesting and marketing of two native grass seeds for human food consumption.

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Education is also seen essential to bringing positive change. Farmers should empower themselves with knowledge. Are there other things you make, besides food? I definitely make things — some out of love and some out of necessity.

source link Did it change after you started farming? TJ: Farming has been a very humbling experience for me. I still work hard, try hard to make good, responsible decisions. There are a lot of unknown or unexpected variables in farming — so I adapt. TJ: The unexpected loss — storm damage, losing an animal to predators or illness.

Those days truly suck.