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Improved perrenial pastures

Improved perennial pastures can increase livestock production by up to 150% compared with annual pastures and are up to 300% more productive than native pastures. Some perennial species, eg lotus and sulla may also reduce methane emissions from livestock.

Perennial species can achieve better water utilisation than annual species, reducing waterlogging, dryland salinity, soil acidification and nutrient loss through run-off.

Compared to annual species, perennials maintain a greater level of ground cover year-round, reducing the potential for soil erosion weed establishment.

Perennial pastures extend the growing season, which can reduce the need for supplementary feeding and can increase the production options in a livestock enterprise.

The high cost of establishing a new perennial pasture can take several years or more to recover. It is a profitable activity in the long-term due to potential increases in stocking rates and productivity, resilience in a changing climate and improved natural resource management.

Perennial pasture, species composition and productivity can be managed with fertiliser and tactical grazing management.

Indicators of healthy improved perennial pastures

Successful and productive perennial pastures are characterised by:

  • up to 40% legume content and at least 40-60% perennial grasses during the peak growing season
  • ground cover of more than 70% year-round
  • at least 1000kg of dry matter per hectare at the point of autumn break
  • at least 15-20 desirable perennial plants per m2 (50/m2 for newly-sown pasture)
  • optimal pasture utilisation through tactical grazing - characterised by evenness of grazing, species composition and seasonal dry matter content
  • optimal soil fertility - according to species composition and soil test results 

Additional information and guides to establishing and managing a wide range of perennial pastures across Australia’s temperature can be found on the EverGraze website.

Manuals and guides
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