The push for pasture

The push for pasture

Pastures
Shaun Mahony, Stephen Pasture Seeds and Alan Gowers, Vic Seeds at the Wimmera Machnery Field Days.

Shaun Mahony, Stephen Pasture Seeds and Alan Gowers, Vic Seeds at the Wimmera Machnery Field Days.

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Farmers are looking to get back into pastures due to high livestock prices and concerns about the sustainability of continuous cropping.

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A COMBINATION of high livestock prices, the desire to diversify and the need to rest country from continuous cropping has seen an explosion of interest in pasture.

Stephen Pasture Seeds territory manager Shaun Mahony said things had turned full circle since the height of the no-till cropping trend where farmers exited livestock in their droves.

"We're seeing people recognise they can crop and run livestock successfully," Mr Mahony said.

Alan Gowers, Vic Seeds, agreed.

"Where they still have the infrastructure such as fencing they are looking at planting pastures.

"Livestock are fantastic money at present and everyone knows that a good pasture is an efficient way of getting weight on livestock quickly," Mr Gowers said.

At the Wimmera Machinery Field Days last week the pair said there was interest across both summer and winter active species.

In the Wimmera, suited to cereal cropping, Mr Mahony said growers were also very keen on forage cereals.

"They can be great as an opportunistic crop if you are lucky enough to get an early break then you can utilise the moisture and get some really good autumn feed up and about."

Summer forage mixes including brassicas and herbs such as chicory and plantain are also a growth area while pasture legumes, such as clover, medic and vetch are also in demand as a means to fix nitrogen.

Mr Gowers said some farmers were looking to plant dedicated long-term pastures while others were planning on planting annual pasture species to fit within a cropping rotation.

He said pastures that could fix nitrogen or could play a role in a weed control phase, such as allowing alternate herbicide groups or be cut for hay to minimise weed seed set were increasngly valuable options for farmers.

The story The push for pasture first appeared on Farm Online.

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