Grass-roots community organisation that aims to improve the natural condition of the Derwent catchment

Dryland Grazing Course

The Derwent Pasture Network is at the start of a three-year program of work funded by NRM South through the Australian Government’s Regional Land Partnerships program. As part of this program, the Pasture Network will deliver a package of information and management/learning activity that we’ll present in the form of a dryland grazing course. The course will seek to address the issues and environment of the region and be tailored to the specific needs of livestock enterprises. If you have an issue or question close to your grazing heart, we’d love to hear about it.

Paying more attention to dryland pasture and grazing can be fertile ground for improvement. While irrigation can rightly be a focus of interest, dryland grazing responds to the same principles of input and output. Sure, it does so differently, but it has other attributes. And there is quite a lot of it.

Dryland need not mean beige. It could be gold.

On-farm

The course is intended to be conducted on-farm, in-person, with application in mind and shared experience, knowledge and understanding at the forefront of all that is delivered.

There is a great deal to be gained by meeting with a group of grazing practitioners. Being like-minded is not required; being interested in learning, sharing, improving and challenging most definitely is.

Visiting paddocks, problems and successes is fantastic ground for learning and inspiration. Sharing helps everyone learn from hard-won experience. We’ll keep you updated on our progress. It’s likely to include a mix of things we think we know, things we probably don’t know, and things we don’t know we don’t know. That’s classic Donald Rumsfeld, but it means scope for refresh, learn and explore.

A new look

A goal of improvement does not mean just waiting for something new. It could mean doing something new. Take the pasture plants we grow as an example. Having better plant options is a longstanding desire of many pasture managers and work is continually being undertaken to achieve this. But as any plant breeder will tell you, new plants are not a speedy undertaking.

Getting the most out of the plants we already have access to, however, is a much shorter path to improvement. This can include both using valuable plants we may have not previously considered or fully appreciated or managing to make more out of the pasture that already exists by addressing constraints in the growing and grazing environments. Much improvement can be pursued without waiting for breakthroughs. The Derwent Pasture Network will seek to address issues worth a new look throughout the course.

Course content

The course is currently being developed, but may include themes such as:

  • assessing pasture condition, identifying and addressing key limits
  • understanding and managing pasture species, changing composition
  • managing ground cover, weeds and slopes
  • energising production, increasing legume and nitrogen fixation
  • new pasture options and making a change
  • effective nutrient management
  • graze what’s grown, grazing plans and strategies
  • adding rest, reaping reward
  • making dry feed count
  • understanding pests, managing impacts
  • understanding feed on offer, budgeting supply, filling gaps
  • partners in profit, managing pasture and livestock targets
  • seasonal variation, stocking rates and decisions
  • measuring success, monitoring progress.

By addressing issues together and building layers of strength, our intent is to support pasture and livestock management systems that are increasingly more robust in the face of seasonal challenges and capable of delivering sustainable production and landscape management outcomes. Doing that in a collegial, interactive and valuable way is our goal.

To register in the upcoming course please contact Eve Lazarus projects@derwentcatchment.org or 0429 170 048.

This program is made possible by funding from NRM South through the Australian Government’s Regional Land Partnerships program.

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Dry paddock

Derwent Catchment Project

PO Box 22 Hamilton TAS 7140  |  Phone (03) 6286 3211  |  facilitator@derwentcatchment.org