An improved pasture, is a sown pastures that includes introduced pasture species, usually grasses in combination with legumes. These are generally more productive than the local native pastures, have higher protein and metabolisable energy and are typically more digestible.
Improved pastures can play an important role in lifting the productivity and profitability of an enterprise, provided they are suited to the environment and are managed well from establishment through to grazing.
Pasture growth forms the basis of productivity in a grazing operation and it is important for producers to understand the key factors affecting pasture growth when seeking to maximise production from improved pastures. By understanding pasture growth, producers are able to maximise pasture utilisation, one of the key profit drivers, while also maintaining good land and pasture condition.
Successful pasture establishment is important to ensuring high levels of production and persistence in improved pastures. Pastures are often sown as a mixture of species with the seeds being small, sensitive to the conditions and slow to establish.
Pasture selection, soil nutrients, weed control and sowing are all important considerations which must be carefully planned for when establishing an improved pasture.
Good pasture management should be both proactive (maintaining soil fertility) and reactive (managing pests and weeds when they are affecting productivity) and aim to maximise the productivity and persistence of the pasture.
Grazing management is the total process of organising livestock to make the best use of the pastures grown. It is about managing the frequency and intensity with which livestock graze pasture.
Grazing management considers:
- Pasture utilisation
- Soil management
- Grazing strategies
- Stocking rate
- Fodder conservation