Dual-purpose Cropping in the High Rainfall Zone
Tales from the Farm
John Kirkegaard and colleagues have worked closley with famers around Australia to test these mixed farming methods in real farming systems.
The outcomes of this research and its integration at whole-farm scale have been rapidly adopted by Industry, generating significant benefits (estimated $40M pa) in South-East Australia (the main region of focus for the team) but with clear prospects to further revolutionise the productivity of mixed farming systems in medium and high-rainfall zones throughout Australia.
The following comments from farmers highlight the benefits of dual-purpose cropping systems.
“A decade ago we only grew fine wool... Now we produce a range of crops and pastures for forage, silage, hay and grain as well as meat from sheep and cattle” Angus Gibson, Goulburn farmer, NSW
"The long-season winter canola has a perfect fit in our colder environment and is often our highest yielding canola even after grazing. We need the canola break crop to keep on top of weeds and diseases in the wheat. The combination of grazed crops provides significant increases in profitability from the winter grazing if we can avoid yield penalties by removing the stock on time" John Jeffreys, Delegate Station, Delegate NSW
"Generally positive results from the experiment but variable, some yield penalties on crops grazed late. Canola will become a standard option in the feed-base. The concept has moved from the experimental to operational." Peter Watt, Elders Cowra, NSW
"Mostly positive response, and all growers will try again. Most achieved 4 weeks grazing @25 dse/ha and yield of grazed crops (2.4 t/ha oil 42%) matched yields of un-grazed. Unexpected economic benefits also arose due to ease (and speed) of harvest of less bulky crops" Tim Condon, Delta-Agribusiness Harden-Young, NSW
"Grazing canola provides an opportunity to clean up grass weeds arising from a phase of grazing cereals so that pastures can be cleaner and more productive. The system benefits are the main attraction" Tony Good, Harden District Rural Advisory Service