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Wool Stocktake : AWI Annual Report 2015-16
STRATEGY 3: PRODUCTION SYSTEMS AND ECO-CREDENTIALS STRATEGY 3 RESOURCES DURING 2015/16 $1,095,000 project expenditure + 1.3 AWI staff (full time equivalent) PROGRAM 1: MANAGING THE RESOURCE BASE INVESTMENT FOCUS • 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 phytophtora. • 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. STRATEGIC TARGETS Targets for three-year period 2013/14 to 2015/16 Progress during 2015/16 20% increase in pasture production or increase in stocking rate capacity (2-4 dry sheep equivalent per ha). Achieved. Benefits have been generated across two major projects – EverGraze VI (the final phase) and Farm300. An external review of investment identified benefits to sheep farms of $2.9 million and $1.4 million respectively. Adoption across 50,000 ha of perennial pasture within five years. Target revised. 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 2016/17 financial year. KEY RESULTS DURING 2015/16 Nutrient use efficiency • The low Phosphorous (P) use efficiency of Australian pasture systems and the consequent need to apply considerably more P as fertilizer than is exported in animal products, together with the rising price of P, has driven recent investment in this area. Research is under way to investigate the transformation of applied P, plant’s abilities to access free and locked pools of P and those pasture species that access locked P more efficiently. Key results to date include: o Research suggests that substantially more P- efficient pasture systems than currently in use are within reach for temperate southern Australia. o Legumes such as the serradellas and biserrula have root morphologies better suited to soil exploration and nutrient acquisition than subterranean clover and white clover. o In P-deficient soils, the serradellas substantially out-yield subterranean clover, provided they are growing in a soil to which they are well adapted as they require relatively free-draining soil for optimal production and persistence. • Of particular interest is the impact of fertilisers on native grasses and naturalised legumes which are already widespread in pastures. The research outcomes include: o Where there is a sufficient density of high- quality native grasses, fertility can be increased to moderate levels without the expense of resowing. o Applied P boosts the legume component of native pastures but too much leads to annual grasses and weeds. o Rotational grazing, particularly in summer and autumn, is critical to ensuring the long-term survival of native and sown perennial grasses. o The more productive areas of the farm such as valleys with deep soils should be the first priority in applying fertilisers. o Native pasture species have differing responses to P so it’s important to know what species are present. Grower-facing website and tools • The Timerite® website, a tool to assist in the management of Red Legged Earth Mite (RLEM) has been revised and rebuilt and the associated RLEM brochure updated. • The EverGraze website is being updated and will be completed in early 2016/17. Tools relevant to Whole Farm Grazing Strategies have been simplified and improved and associated videos updated. Pasture legume performance and grazing management • Research continues into the permanent resistance to Phytophthora Root Disease. Testing of the high number of samples that have been returned by producers in NSW, Vic, SA and WA is under way. It is anticipated that these samples will assist in determining resistant legume species, and estimating the severity of root disease impacts in the areas sampled. 20 REPORT OF 2015/16 OPERATIONS – ON-FARM R&D
AWI Annual Report 2014-15
AWI Annual Report 2016-17