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Farming Native Pastures - Course Report

The Putty Valley Landcare Group organized a training course for Putty landholders in farm management, 'Farming Native Pastures', through the District Agronomist (NSW II).  The course was generously subsidised by Landcare and was made available to Putty landholders for just $50. 

District agronomists Janine Kidson from Mudgee and Luke Pope from Cooma delivered the programme

Day 1 Friday 11 June 2010 the topics: 

- Pasture production and assessment

- Pasture benchmarks, pasture quality and quantity

involved identification of native grasses, introduced grasses and weeds, and included strategies for monitoring pasture composition.

Day 2 Friday 20 August 2010 the topics:

- Growth curve of plants, manipulating species composition, stocking rates, seasonal management

- Fodder budgets and matching pasture production to animal production

- Integrate pasture and livestock targets with whole farm plans for a sustainable grazing system

- Planning stock movement and paddock subdivision for best practice grazing management

covered the incorporation of native pastures into the whole farm, using a computer program Grazclock to identify weaknesses and opportunities in nurturing native pastures and sowing fodder crops such as oats.   We were introduced to plant phrenology - the growth patterns of plants through the vegetative, flowering and seeding stages, and were given a chart to observe the plant phrenology of species in our own pastures. We were then shown how to use the Grazclock programme to see the impacts on the pastures of stocking rate, grazing timing, selective grazing and different grazing systems.

Day 3 Friday 8 October 2010 the topics:

- Matching land capability to land use and soil types

- Calculating cost of production and gross margins

- Use of tools to indicate financial health - cash flow budgeting, balance sheets, profit and loss statements

involved pasture modification to improve production and included the topics of native vegetation legislation, the impacts of fertilizer, the impacts of herbicide use and the threats from weeds. Another computer programme the Cashflow Calculator was used to determine the relative pay back periods for various practices.

 Landholders attending the course thank Janine and Luke for their presentation of the programme, and Putty & 3 Valleys Landcare for bringing the course Farming Native Pastures to Putty.