Grazing management of perennial forage shrubs video

Title: Grazing Management of Perennial Forage Shrubs

Vision: Grazing Management of Perennial Forage Shrubs points

This video provides farmers with information about options for managing livestock with alternative feed sources. It also looks at using lower productive land in a Mallee cropping system.

Vision: Perennial forage shrubs

Chris Korte - Senior Scientist - Agriculture Victoria:

'The aim of the project is to identify more shrubs besides Old Man Saltbush which has been traditionally used.'

Vision: Map of forage shrub sites in the Mallee area

'This work started at Walpeup and there was a site there which, over two or three years they grew a lot of shrubs.'

Chris Korte speaking:

'And then from that selected the ones which they thought would be most suitable for the Mallee.'

Vision: Map of forage shrub sites in the Mallee area showing five new sites - Chris Korte speaking:

'Currently this year another five sites where new plantings have been done to look at performance, same species, six species at each site.'

Jason Emms - Perennial Fodder Crop Consultant:

'From a decade of more of research we've identified nine elite forage shrub species.'

Vision: Elite forage shrub species

'These are best grown in mixtures. And we've come up with five different mixes related to different soil, and soil constraints that can be grown.'

Jason Emms speaking:

'So there's a host of different benefits that can be gained from growing native forage shrubs.'

Vision: Reasons for planting forage shrubs

'The most important one is the provision of feed. That gives you a lot of opportunities to provide feed and address feed gaps in any type of year, to shade and shelter for livestock, and a heap of NRM benefits. As they're there the whole year around they give good soil cover and soil protection. And they slow wind speeds so it gives you a heap of protection from soil erosion. They've got deep roots so you get better water use, leading to less risk of salinity. And because they're shrubs and they grow up from the ground, it creates a habitat for a whole range of different plants, so you get increased biodiversity.'

Jason Emms speaking

'And we've shown on a number of different scenarios, animals can gain up to 200 grams per head per day grazing these shrub systems. One of the biggest impacts that forage shrubs can have is growing on poor soil types where you're not making returns from cropping, but having shrubs in these areas can allow you to get returns from poor parts of the farm.'

Vision: Managing forage shrubs

'Grazing management is very critical, get the best out of forage shrubs, so 40DSE to the hectare plus is very important, and also having experienced animals. So there are a few important things to do to maximise the life of forage shrubs and keep them productive and persistent. One of those is to allow long rest periods between grazing events, so six months.'

Vision: Forage shrubs can withstand heavy defoliation

'So grazing initially down to almost sticks or a very low level of lease material is not a problem.'

Vision: Shrub defoliation after one month of intensive grazing — Jason Emms speaking:

'What is very important is keeping that new growth protected and allowing that to regrow.'

Matt Curtis - Farmer - Millewa area:

'Oh there's a bit of research been done lately that they don't necessarily thrive on one variety, so sort of mix it up with a bit of other different varieties of Saltbush, and Rhagodias and Emu Bushes. And going by some of the graphs they've shown today that growth rates and all that of the sheep work as well.'

Vision: Native forage shrubs for low-rainfall areas

Agriculture Victoria - Drought. Don't go it alone

Page last updated: 24 Nov 2020