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Investigating cell grazing and other grazing management systems in northern Australia

Beef producers face increasing environmental and financial pressures to remain productive and viable. While past cases of deteriorating condition of grazing land have been clearly linked to poor management of stocking rate, there has been increasing interest and investment in intensive grazing systems, especially cell grazing, which provide greater control of the location, duration, intensity and timing of grazing. 

Part of the attraction of such systems is their perceived potential to increase stocking rates, improve land condition, and enhance animal performance due to factors such as improved spatial distribution of grazing, long spell periods, and maintaining pasture in a vegetative state. While interest in more intensive grazing systems has grown, there are mixed views, and a lack of positive experimental evidence, over their benefits and their suitability for different environments, levels of property infrastructure, management capacities and lifestyle preferences. 

The management and infrastructure requirements of grazing systems can be viewed as a continuum from low-input continuous grazing, through rotational systems, to intensive cell systems. This research project assessed the impacts of more intensive grazing systems on (a) the condition and trend of grazing land, (b) paddock carrying capacities and (c) diet quality of cattle. It measured the inputs and outcomes from different systems with the objective of providing producers with additional evidence on which to assess their merits. The project aim was to assist beef producers to make decisions about the most suitable grazing systems for their properties by providing accurate and impartial information in an easy to understand format. 

Benefits of selecting the most appropriate grazing methods include: 

- improved financial performance due to increased production and/or lower costs; 

- improved environmental performance due to better and more productive pastures, improved soil health, and fewer off-site impacts; and 

- long term sustainability of grazing properties and the people they support. 

These individual property benefits will contribute to a more financially secure industry with a justified improvement in its environmental image and credentials, and provide major support for local communities.


Title Size Date published
3.6MB 13/10/2011
5.4MB 13/10/2011
1.1MB 13/10/2011


Contract No. Title Start date End date Funding type
Investigating cell grazing and other grazing management systems in north ern Australia
15/12/2004 04/02/2011

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