Pasture update to highlight need to replenish soils

South-West Victorian farmers might have experienced their best growing season for years, but now they’re being urged to replenish their paddocks after a long growing season of high pasture yields.

A Pasture Update seminar in Stawell on March 27 will give farmers tips on nutrient replacement after a wet year.

The presentation by Andrew Speirs from Meridian Ag will outline the importance of soil testing and making sure paddocks are replenished for the next growing season.

The Grassland Society of Southern Australia is combining with the Perennial Pasture Systems group to present the Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA) Pasture Update at Stawell Entertainment Centre on Monday, March 27.

The Pasture Update will feature a variety of speakers to set the scene for the rest of 2017.

Mr Speirs said farmers need to take into account the different season after several years of dry weather and should do soil tests to determine how to revive their paddocks. Given the better livestock prices, now is also the time to consider improving the overall soil fertility of the property if it isn’t already adequate.

“Because the yields have been so high, farmers need to look at soil tests and do a nutrient budget for what they’ve removed from those paddocks,” he said.

Some paddocks have cut up to eight tonnes of hay, removing about 25kg of phosphorous out of the system, the equivalent to nearly 300kg of single super plus 300-350kg of muriate of potash.

“Farmers need to keep an eye on those high yielding paddocks and replenish what has been exported,” Mr Speirs said.

“It’s not like other years where pasture growth has been reduced. Quality of hay and silage is down a bit because it was late to harvest, but you’re still taking out all that phosphorous so farmers will need to look at increasing phosphorous fertiliser application rates, as well as potassium and sulphur if on light soils.”

Mr Speirs said rainfall across south-west Victoria had been in the top 10 percentile, which gave farmers a terrific season overall.

The seminar will include MLA Market Information Manager Ben Thomas looking at the outlook for the livestock market, Nathan Scott from Achieve Ag on management of dry feed surplus, Alison Frischke from the Birchip Cropping Group on the use of grazing cereals, including results from the Grain & Graze 3 project.

Irene Sobotta from MLA will bring producers up to date with the latest research projects funded by MLA, while Rachael Campbell from Agriculture Victoria will present the 2016 results of the PPS gibberellic acid demonstration.

The Stawell seminar one of six pasture updates planned for this year in Victoria and South Australia to raise awareness of research outputs from MLA and partners, showcase producers who have made successful on-farm changes and highlight improved pasture technologies.

The seminar will start at 4pm at the Stawell Entertainment Centre and includes a light dinner. Cost is $20 per person.

For further information or to book a seat contact PPS Project Manager Rob Shea on 0438 521357 or yadin@netconnect.com.au, or Grassland Society Secretary Melinda Caspersz on 1300 137 550 or email office@grasslands.org.au.