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Wool Stocktake : AWI Annual Report 2014-15
$1,169,000 project expenditure + 2.2 AWI staff (full time equivalent) • Research into new pasture species and models of pasture growth. • Shifting the feed base to new and more reliable legume species in light of increased climate variability (optimising nitrogen supply). • Increased healthy pasture soils: 20% increase in pasture growth due to less pathogens such as phytophthora. • Increased focus on action on the ground (through participatory R&D; that is, better engagement between grower and researchers); extension and engagement of woolgrowers on: o Sustainable grazing management-- eg Enrich follow up; dual purpose crops. o Technology transfer from research repositories such as livestock systems design (EverGraze). o Agronomy packages and companion species. o Rabbit control. 20% increase in pasture production or increase in stocking rate capacity (2-4 dry sheep equivalent per ha). Research has been targeted towards increasing pasture production and stocking rate capacity through improvements in phosphorous and nitrogen utilisation, and adoption of new pasture legume species. Adoption across 50,000 ha of perennial pasture within five years. This target has been revised to: "Collect and disseminate relevant grower case studies attesting to good stewardship practices". Funding for the development and communication of case studies has been allowed in the 2015/16 financial year. • Research projects are under way that investigate the transformation of applied Phosphorous, plants' abilities to access free and locked pools of Phosphorous in the soil, and those pasture species that access locked Phosphorous more efficiently. Preliminary results suggest that applied Phosphorous aids in increasing the legume content of pastures but over fertilisation leads to an increase in weed burden. • In investigating legumes and management practices to increase efficiency of livestock production, 66 species of legumes, grasses and forbs have been compared for biomass production and nutritional value throughout different stages of their lifecycle. Researchers have identified temperate pastures such as biserrula that create greater opportunities for landholders to increase productivity while reducing emissions intensity. Researchers found that inclusion of forage oats (Winteroo) with pasture legumes such as yellow serradella and burr medic has significant potential to increase feed value early in the season, complemented by legumes to maintain high crude protein. Additionally, production and quality data for 40 different pasture species is now available for modelers to develop pasture combinations suited to localised production systems and environments. • Current use of nitrate-accumulating shrubs has been benchmarked for their nutritive profile, reasons for adoption, and impacts on animal health, wool and meat production. Research is continuing into grazing preference, influences of fertilizer treatments and whole farm management strategies. • To date nine different races of Phytophthora clandestina have been identified as present in Southern Australia, and that clover varieties present different levels of resistance to the disease. Research is continuing to investigate the mechanism(s) that allow resistance, with the goal of identifying ways that producers can achieve a permanent solution. Research scientists discuss with producers the most promising pasture type tested in the Yass area, French serradella, which yielded as well as subterranean clover and required significantly less phosphorus to achieve these yields. REPORT OF 2014/15 OPERATIONS -- ON-FARM R&D
AWI Annual Report 2013-14
AWI Annual Report 2015-16