Newspaper article Daily Examiner (Grafton, Australia)

Tackling Land Recovery; DPI Detail Options to Resurrect Damaged Pastures

Newspaper article Daily Examiner (Grafton, Australia)

Tackling Land Recovery; DPI Detail Options to Resurrect Damaged Pastures

Article excerpt

THE Department of Primary Industries is advising North Coast farmers with flood-damaged pastures on their options to save the productivity of their feed base.

C[pounds sterling]All floods are hard on pastures and stock, and a late summer flood is no different with sub-tropical pastures damaged at the end of the growing season,C[yen] said Carol Rose, DPI district agronomist based on the North Coast.

C[pounds sterling]Most of the dry-land pastures of kikuyu, couch and carpet grass will survive short-term inundation in later summer if the days do not get too hot.

C[pounds sterling]Hot shallow water can lead to pasture death, and the smell of the plants and damaged roots tell the story when the paddocks dry out.

C[pounds sterling]Damage can also be done if the pastures are covered in mud or sand.

C[pounds sterling]Those pastures that do survive may not recover in time for any worthwhile feed going into winter.

C[pounds sterling]Other pasture species, like lucerne and chicory, are sensitive to water logging and may be badly damaged.C[yen]

Ms Rose said the options for farmers include keeping stock off wet pasture where possible, fertilising when pastures have dried out, or over-sowing pastures with seed.

C[pounds sterling]While the ground is still very wet, pastures are easily damaged by animals,C[yen] Ms Rose said.

C[pounds sterling]If you can destock damaged pasture, this will help the pasture and soil recover.

C[pounds sterling]Nitrogen is often leached by high rainfall and flood, and application of a nitrogen-based fertiliser can help recovery, but only when the soil has dried out.

C[pounds sterling]Get the rate right as rapidly growing pasture with too much nitrogen can lead to stock health issues if grazed too early.C[yen]

Ms Rose said an option was to over-sow damaged kikuyu pastures with rye-grass and clover.

C[pounds sterling]Some dairy farmers regularly start sowing rye-grass in March, but many consider it still too warm to sow,C[yen] she said.

C[pounds sterling]Another option is to sow forage brassicas. These produce very quick feed, and can be over-sown with ryegrass after the first grazing. …

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