An improved pasture is a sown pasture that includes introduced pasture species.
Improved pastures are generally more productive than local native pastures and usually combine grasses with a legume. They also have higher protein and metabolisable energy content, and are typically more digestible.
Improved pastures can play an important role in lifting productivity and profitability if they are suited to the environment and well managed from establishment through to grazing.
Understanding the factors affecting pasture growth is important to:
- maximise productivity
- increase pasture utilisation
- maintain good land and pasture condition.
There are a multitude of pasture species well suited to the establishment of an improved pasture. Pasture selection must consider the following to maximise the potential of the pasture improvement:
- production system
Successful pasture establishment is important to ensure high levels of production. The process of paddock preparation and sowing technique can result in improved pastures being sensitive and slow to establish, so it is important to consider:
- pasture selection
- soil nutrients
- weed control
- sowing and seeding method.
To maximise pasture productivity and resilience, good pasture management should be both proactive (maintaining soil fertility) and reactive (managing pests and weeds).
Grazing management is the process of organising livestock to make the best use of the pastures grown. It is about managing the frequency and intensity that livestock graze and considers:
- pasture utilisation
- soil management
- grazing strategies
- stocking rate
- fodder conservation.