• agriculture ban2

Grazing management is nothing new to the islands - there are many examples in the past of rotational or managed grazing systems that have beengrazing successful. But now with the advent of reliable electric fencing systems two and three wire electric fencing can now be used to split up camps more cheaply and make better use of the feed on offer.

Farmers utilising available funds through the DOA Farm Improvement Programme are progressing with the sub-division of improved pastures and/or the sub-division of larger native camps.

A simulated grazing trial carried out at Fitzroy has demonstrated over several years that managed grazing can lead to 2-3 times as much dry matter production as a set stocking system in the Falkland Islands.

The main focus of the managed grazing is to increase the productivity of fine grasses that are already present in the camp. In some cases positive changes in botanical composition are also being seen.

 

 

 In December 2004, the Department of Agriculture established a series of Simulated Grazing Trials. The key objective of the trials was to determine if:-

  1. A well managed grazing system (graze and spell) will yield more pasture than a traditional set-stocked pasture (continuous stocking).
  2. Also to allow calculations to be made to determine if the increased yield of feed was cost effective.

The trials looked at 3 levels of grazing management:

  • Set-stocked - plots are cut on a weekly basis (back to a height of 3cm) during the growing season.
  • Well managed grazing - plots are mown (back to a height of 4.5cm) when the plants reached a stage deemed as optimum for pasture yield and quality (cut several times during the growing season).
  • Poorly managed grazing - plots are mown (back to a height of 6cm) when the plants had "over matured" and were losing quality, representing a form better than set-stocking but poorer than well managed grazing (cut several times during the growing season).

The following graph shows the monthly dry matter production from the replicated plots at Fitzroy (Greens). These are the "simulated" plots that are mown weekly by Gordon and have been totalled to give a monthly yield. This shows that grass growth has a general seasonal pattern and that the majority of feed is grown between November and March.

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Simulated Grazing Trial Pictures

grazing trial set stocked-300Set-stocked (3cm)

 

grazing trial well managed-300Well Managed (4.5cm)

grazing trial poorly managed-300Poorly managed (6cm)