A high intensity short duration rotational grazing system is used on Toulon.
The subdivision of paddocks into smaller grazing areas has been a recent focus.
Electric fencing and water reticulation are the key to affordable paddock subdivision. Electric fencing is a very cheap and effective method to control grazing pressure. On Toulon a traditionally fenced paddock is subdivided into smaller areas of around 10ha. The area is then grazed for a short period of time (usually 1-2 days) by livestock at a stocking rate of 200-400 per Ha. All these figures are scaleable depending on the enterprise size. The grazing period and timing can be dependant on the prevailing season. All grazing decisions are based on the current paddock conditions and the required result.
Key benefits of this form of grazing on Toulon include.
– Increased rest period and utilisation in paddocks grazed.
– The ability to maintain groundcover at predetermined levels (100%).
– Feed on hand in paddocks ahead of the rotation is easily calculated and is a buffer against short term or seasonal feed gaps.
– Where it is beneficial the species composition in a paddock can be manipulated through timing the grazing event or skipping the grazing event to allow for a desirable plant to set seed. Emerging plants can also be assisted to establish in the same way.
– This grazing method encourages healthy root development cycles and assists in the building of soil organic matter and hence soil carbon.
– A welcome benefit is the control of many weeds.
– Increasing the perennial plant base improving water utilisation.
– Improving soil structure, reducing erosion and increasing water infiltration.
– Increasing the diversity of plant species. Trees are even establishing under this grazing regime.
– Improved animal health from a stable plane of nutrition and reduction in exposure to parasites.
The list of benefits goes on. Many courses are available to teach improved grazing methods. These all go into much greater depth than is possible in this summary. REF
THE BASIC PRINCIPLE
Stress free Stockmanship
It is worth considering the benefits both in animal production and ease of handling that come from stress free stockmanship. This link provides greater detail on the subject. ref www.stressfreestockmanship.com.au
Our grazing management relies on cost effective subdivision fencing within the existing traditional fences. Once animals are introduced to the electric system it quickly becomes as effective as more expensive conventional fencing. We have made major use of central Thunderbird solar fencing units. These supply power to electrified fences with switches to shut off unused sections.
More recently we have used the Thunderbird S40B solar 5km units, very portable with an internal battery, and running free on sun power. We locate the unit wherever with no extra work running power from a central energiser. These are ideal for isolated electric subdivision fencing. For even more fencing flexibility we are trialing single poliwire using a geared reel. ref ww.thunderbird.net.au
THE BASIC PRINCIPLE
Solar Pump for water reticulation
A flexible and safe water supply is critical in our rotational grazing system. A system of
troughs is supplied by underground polypipe.
We incorporated a solar pumping system
on a bore to make use of this simple, free power source in our water supply. A rebate was
provided by the Australian Government for this renewable energy water pump.
Other than the provision of water to subdivided paddocks, alternative water is required where
fragile riparian zones are to be rested. In many cases the river system had been
our water supply of last resort for livestock at times when the river system
was already under stress.
No-Kill and Pasture cropping
These two cropping methods are Australian developed and highly adaptable to individual farm grazing requirements.
THE BASIC PRINCIPLE
No-Kill Cropping is a method that sows crops into existing plant and litter cover without
eliminating any other plants. It works on the complementary effects of diverse pastures rather
than competition factors. It is a very low cost, flexible approach to crop growing that gives
growers flexibility throughout the growing season.
No-Kill is one of the only two cropping systems in the world (the other is Pasture Cropping)
that works within grasslands rather than replacing grasslands to grow crops.
How does it work? No-Kill sows directly into the pasture or grassland with zero disturbance. There is no fallow period and livestock are used as nutrient recyclers. There are 5 Principles:
1. Sowing is done dry
2. Coulter type implements are used (no tynes)
3. No Herbicide or Pesticides
4. No Fertiliser
5. Good grazing management
Pasture Cropping is the Zero till sowing of crops into perennial pasture
The guidelines for Pasture Cropping are:
• Never Never Plough.
• Never kill perennial species.
• Perennial pastures can be native or introduced, better results are achieved from native grass species.
• Weeds are controlled by creating large quantities of thick litter by using correct grazing management of livestock. Weeds can also be controlled with very careful herbicide use.
By following these methods we harvest sunlight throughout the year and have
productive groundcover throughout the year.