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Use of annual legume pastures as a tool to reclaim high weed burden/low fertility cropping areas in a low rainfall region

Use of annual legume pastures as a tool to reclaim high weed burden/low fertility cropping areas in a low rainfall region

  • Author: Wheatbelt NRM
  • Date Posted: Jan 3, 2017
  • Category: ,

Project Details

Project Delivery: Wheatbelt NRM, Individual Landholder

Contact: Fiona Brayshaw

Ph: 9670 3100

Email: fbrayshaw@wheatbeltnrm.org.au

 Website: Wheatbelt NRM Website

Start Date: 2016                       End Date: 2018

Site ID: SA00752SA1

Area (Ha): 1359 ha

 

Project Aim

To use legume pastures and fallow rotations to reduce weed burden and improve soil health in low rainfall areas.

Project Description

Generally, the current farm practice to reclaim weed burdened and low fertility land is to allocate part of the farm (20-40%) to unproductive fallow for 1 or 2 years to control troublesome and resistant weed populations. However, particularly in low rainfall regions, fallow vegetation is inevitably of very low quality and clover based pastures often lack biomass and are too inconsistent to help with uniform soil fertility. Also, fallow paddocks are spray-topped in the early spring to prevent weed-seed set, but this does not guarantee that resistant weeds will be destroyed. Further, sheep grazing upon poor volunteer pastures are normally run at low stocking rates due to unstable soil structure and lack of biomass so farmers face associated costs of additional feed to maintain stock condition, or are unable to stock these areas.

Instead of using chemical fallow for multiple years, the land owners will trial using premium legume pastures and analyse their effectiveness for weed management and soil health and structure benefits in a low rainfall zone. The trial will also identify the appropriate herbicide package needed to maintain the system successfully in a cropping rotation.

Project Outputs

Project outputs will be added once the trial has been completed.

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