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Managing pasture - is burning necessary?

This time of year (spring) we don’t get much rain.  The tropical grass species in our pasture have dried out over winter due to the low temperatures and low rainfall.  They are in a fully mature state, with relatively low protein and mineral content.  The stock feeding on this pasture tend to lose or maintain weight, but rarely gain significant weight.  Now that the temperatures are starting to increase, we are waiting for rain so that the pasture will re-enter its leafy growth stage and provide good quality fodder for the cattle to start getting fat for market. In Queensland, late winter and spring tend to be our dry period, with rain coming in summer.


There are several ways to accelerate this process.  Certainly if you leave the dry dead bushes of grass in the pasture, the amount of leafy growth, even when it rains, will be reduced.  The new leaves tend to grow from the outside of the bush, so the bigger the bush, the less useful leaves are growing on the inside.  If you can remove most of the dry grass, the leafy growth will start early, from all around the plant, particularly if there is still good soil moisture from winter rains.  The dry grass can be removed by:

  • Controlled burning
  • Slashing
  • Managed grazing

See the rest on my blog at http://eight-acres.blogspot.com.au/2012/11/managing-pasture-is-burn...


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