DAF sheds light on best ways to manage pasture dieback

Pasture Dieback Management Workshops show options to Queensland producers.

Pasture dieback remains a serious issue for graziers in eastern Queensland and north-eastern New South Wales. However, new research by the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF) is shedding light on the best ways to manage affected pastures.

DAF senior agronomist Stuart Buck said results from 10 research and demonstration trials had helped DAF develop management options, which had recently been presented at Pasture Dieback Management Workshops across Queensland.

"Depending on the situation, an area of country might benefit from a combination of management strategies," Mr Buck said.

"For example, a grazier might decide to burn an affected pasture, sow it to a forage hay crop for a few years, then return the area to a diverse legume-grass pasture.

"There is a larger range of options for arable country, particularly if machinery is available."

Producers check out the trial site at a recent field day.

Grazier Warren Luhrs is hosting a trial on his Moura property Wonga, which has been badly affected by pasture rundown, Indian couch and dieback.

"The country where the trial is located on Wonga was originally planted to Gayndah buffel grass and had since become quite rundown," Mr Luhrs said.

"We first noticed dieback in 2013-14 after we had a good season. After the buffel died in large patches, the Indian couch was able to get away and take over the area.

"We cultivated the area with offsets several times, did a soil test, fertilised, planted and rolled the seed just in time for rain in March 2021. In total, the area was fallowed for about six months before planting.

"The trial area as a whole is looking very good. After going through the process of establishing the trial area, I have decided to establish new pastures in other dieback-affected areas on Wonga and my other property Ridgedale.

"I will be choosing the more tolerant grasses and lots of legume species and following the same regime that we used in the trial."

Recently, Mr Luhrs hosted a field tour of the trial area, enabling 19 attendees to see the growth of various pasture species in the previously dieback-affected area.

The field tour followed a pasture dieback management workshop. The workshop group also visited Torsdale - owned by Will Wilson at Biloela - to inspect another trial site. The Torsdale trial was showing signs of dieback in control plots (no treatments) while plots replanted to new grass and legume species were green, dense and healthy.

For more information about pasture dieback - including fact sheets, an identification guide and upcoming events - search 'pasture dieback' online at www.futurebeef.com.au.

DAF acknowledges Meat and Livestock Australia's funding support for these activities.

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