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Grain & Graze was a new national research program funded by MLA, AWI, GRDC, and Land & Water Australia, aimed at improving the financial and environmental performance of mixed farming systems. The Murrumbidgee Grain & Graze project, of which FarmLink was the host agency, was one of eight regional projects within the program. The Murrumbidgee project also involved the Murrumbidgee Catchment Management Authority (MCMA), NSW DPI, CSIRO and Charles Sturt University. The project received $1 million over five years from the funding bodies, as well as significant in-kind contributions from the agencies involved. (For more information on the Grain & Graze program go to www.grainandgraze.com.au)
The Murrumbidgee Grain & Graze project focused on managing the enterprise mix to optimise whole farm feed supply as well as protecting the natural resource base, particularly water use, ground cover and species diversity. The project was made up of four modules:
Project Details (2004 to 2007):
Grazing wheats and short term pastures were evaluated for their role in filling the feed gap in mixed farming systems.
For grazing wheats, the initial focus in 2004 was on quantifying dry matter potential, feed quality and grazing preference. This was expanded to include the effect of grazing management (stocking rate and grazing duration) on DM and grain recovery, as well as lamb live weight responses and effect of supplementation when grazing wheats. In 2006, grazing canolas were sown in addition to grazing wheats in trials to evaluate their dual purpose potential.
The focus of the short term pasture trials, including several annual legume species, ryegrass, winter active forage brassica and highly winter active lucerne, was to determine their potential in filling a 'feed quality' gap in late spring when other pastures are starting to decline.
Grazing cereal R&D trials 2007 (2044 KB)
Grazing wheat R&D trials 2006 (663 KB)
Grazing wheat R&D trials 2005 (1221 KB)
Grazing wheat R&D trials 2004 (295 KB)
Project Details (2005 to 2007):
Five focus farms located across the catchment (Coolamon, Temora, Euroley Bridge, Tarcutta and Lockhart) were used to monitor production and sustainability indicators across a range of mixed farming enterprises: perennial pastures, annual pastures, native pastures and cereals (grazed and ungrazed).
Monitoring included dry matter, feed quality, ground cover, water use and biodiversity to determine the impact of management decisions on productivity and the natural resource base. The Focus Farm monitoring was undertaken in conjunction with the 'Best Management Practices for Dryland Agriculture' project (Murrumbidgee CMA and NSW DPI).
Focus Farm Summary 2007 (349 KB)
In 2005, soil water movement was also being monitored daily under each paddock at the Coolamon Focus Farm to compare water use between different land uses. View the results at:
Whole farm feed systems are being monitored on Focus farms.