Project Delivery: Wheatbelt NRM, Curtin University (with support from Greening Australia) and Corrigin Farm Improvement Group
Contact: Fiona Brayshaw
Ph: 9670 3100
Website: Wheatbelt NRM Website
Start Date: 2015 End Date: 2017
Site ID: SA01029SA1
Area (Ha): 0.75 ha
- Demonstrate that old saltbush stands can be regenerated and that regeneration can improve production by increasing species diversity and biomass of the understorey
- Provide landholders with an economic analysis of regenerating old saltbush compared to the cost of removing and replanting
- Provide landholders with a number of options on how to turn old stands into a useable, profitable and manageable resource
Many old plantings of saltbush are over-grown, with many having been planted too close together for effective management, and are now too tall for livestock to be able to harvest the available feed effectively. Close and overgrown saltbush also leads to limited regeneration of the pasture understorey, and thus poor biodiversity and overall feed value. This means that although they have been successful in the reclamation of degraded land in terms of potentially reducing soil erosion, rising salinity or waterlogging, the plantings have not proved to be an economic resource for landholders as they have not fulfilled their potential to provide feed for livestock particularly during periods of annual feed gap.
Currently, landholders with old, overgrown saltbush stands are seeking guidance and information on management options to re-incorporate the areas back into their livestock management. However, there is no information available on ways to regenerate old saltbush stands and improve their grazing potential. This negative experience of landholders with the use of saltbush as a feed resource is likely to be a major barrier to the wider adoption of forage systems, and it is therefore important to demonstrate techniques that improve these systems. Recent research from programmes such as those supported by the CRC FFI have also generated new knowledge on forage shrub agronomy, but this has focused on newly established systems and has not been applied to improving older saltbush plantings.
This project will compare different regeneration techniques of rolling and cutting old saltbush stands in a replicated strip trial design at 2 sites in Goomalling and Corrigin. Understory diversity and biomass as well as saltbush regrowth will be monitored and analysed.
Project outputs will be added once the trial has been completed.