Theme 2: Forage--Oral Sessions

Description

Many old man saltbush (Atriplex nummularia) stands were sown in the grainbelt of Western Australia for soil regeneration and salinity management up to 25 years ago, but have not been effectively grazed subsequently, such that the main feed available for sheep is above grazing height. The aim of the study was therefore to see if it was possible to return the old man saltbush stands to a productive grazing stand.

Two sites were chosen that had been sown up to 25 years previously in Goomalling and Corrigin, in the south-west of Western Australia. The sites were split into four treatments that would reduce the height of the stands and bring all grazing material back to less than 1.2 m (the maximum grazing height for sheep in Australia); cutting to 0.5 m, cutting to 1 m, rolling to ground level, and a uncut control. Available feed above and below 1.2 m was assessed before cutting or rolling and then four times over the next two years.

The results found that all three treatments removed feed above 1.2 m and that after 2 years the amount of feed below 1.2 m was increasing. The greatest feed available below 1.2 m was in the rolled treatment, followed by cutting to 0.5 m. Cutting old man saltbush stands to 1 m provides greater feed on the plants after cutting, but within one year of cutting some of the new feed is already above grazing height.

It is concluded there is potential to return old established stands of old man saltbush to a productive grazing stand.

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Regeneration of Old Ungrazed Old Man Saltbush (Atriplex nummularia) Stands in South-West Australia

Many old man saltbush (Atriplex nummularia) stands were sown in the grainbelt of Western Australia for soil regeneration and salinity management up to 25 years ago, but have not been effectively grazed subsequently, such that the main feed available for sheep is above grazing height. The aim of the study was therefore to see if it was possible to return the old man saltbush stands to a productive grazing stand.

Two sites were chosen that had been sown up to 25 years previously in Goomalling and Corrigin, in the south-west of Western Australia. The sites were split into four treatments that would reduce the height of the stands and bring all grazing material back to less than 1.2 m (the maximum grazing height for sheep in Australia); cutting to 0.5 m, cutting to 1 m, rolling to ground level, and a uncut control. Available feed above and below 1.2 m was assessed before cutting or rolling and then four times over the next two years.

The results found that all three treatments removed feed above 1.2 m and that after 2 years the amount of feed below 1.2 m was increasing. The greatest feed available below 1.2 m was in the rolled treatment, followed by cutting to 0.5 m. Cutting old man saltbush stands to 1 m provides greater feed on the plants after cutting, but within one year of cutting some of the new feed is already above grazing height.

It is concluded there is potential to return old established stands of old man saltbush to a productive grazing stand.