Increase in ground cover under a paddock scale rotational grazing experiment in South-east Queensland
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Time-controlled rotational grazing (TC grazing) has been adopted in some Australian rangelands over the last two decades to provide graziers with a relatively higher herbage production over traditional practices. This grazing system, which involves short periods of intensive grazing, has raised concerns about the sustainability and environmental impacts on ecosystem health. Ground cover as an indicator of soil health and sustainability was measured over a 6 years period of study using a paired research paddocks treated by TC and continuous grazing practices in South-east Queensland. The results indicate that TC grazing achieved and maintained a higher average ground cover of 72% during the study period compared with 59% for continuous grazing. In the second period of the study (2004-2006), ground cover under TC grazing even increased to 85% while in continuous grazing it remained at 65%. Time-controlled grazing is also capable to achieve a cover level up to 92% when soils are in good condition whereas in continuous grazing it's only 70%. The improvement of ground cover under TC grazing in the study area is attributed to the effects of long rest periods providing exceptional chance of recovery and regrowth over wet season dominated by high frequency of rainfall events.
Proceedings of the 19th World Congress of Soil Science, Soil Solutions for a Changing World (WCSS 2010)
Copyright 2010 Australian Soil Science Society. The attached file is reproduced here in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. Please refer to the conference's website for access to the definitive, published version.
Natural Resource Management