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Clare SA
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ARTICLES >> Livestock Articles

Responsive Grazing Management Tool Now Available for South Australia

Posted by Bestprac on Apr 15 2009

By Chelsea Muster, Rural Directions Pty Ltd

Three years in the making, and here it is! South Australian Pastoral producers now have a set of responsive grazing management tools that are specifically designed for South Australian land systems.

The tool ‘Responsive Grazing Management: A toolkit for sound land and livestock management' has developed new and altered existing tools to specifically aid in grazing management decisions for Pastoral South Australia. The toolkit includes:

• Revised ABCD land conditioning guide
• Photo standards against which to measure the ABCD guide
• Animal condition scoring information
• Information on the use of rainfall deciles to assess rainfall patterns and median rainfall
• Processes for undertaking water budgets
• Links and procedures for using the on-line DSE Days per Hectare per 100mm of rainfall tool

The information is contained in a workbook that demonstrates how to use the tools individually or as a package from either inside the house or out in the paddock. The DDH/100mm rainfall tool is accessible on-line.

This series of tools has been categorised into lag or lead indicators. Lag indicators are indicators that are recognised due to a change that has already occurred in another part of the system. For instance, a decline in animal condition is a lag indicator, as it could be a result of a decrease in food on offer that has already happened.

A Lead indicator is a predictive indicator that indicates a change that could occur in the future. For instance, rainfall is a lead indicator for food on offer. By measuring and monitoring rainfall, the land manger will be able to estimate the availability of current and future food on offer.

This distinction has been made to allow land managers to identify the relevant tools that will allow them to be more responsive in their land management decisions and to implement changes in stocking rates before:

• Land condition and vegetation health suffers
• Soil cover is reduced to critical levels
• Livestock condition falls and sale prices are affected
• Overall market prices decline due to the volume of sales.

One of the features of the Responsive Grazing Management toolkit is the recording process used to collate the outcomes from the use of the individual tools. Once the tools have been utilised out in the paddock, the results are transferred into a recording system that compares the current ‘result' to previous results, and benchmarks this result against best practice management. In this manner, producers can visually see the change that is occurring in the paddock, whilst determining if their current rating is below or above the best practice.

The NEED and Yunta Bestprac group has successfully gained funding through the Woolworths Sustainable Grants for a workshop to be held to demonstrate the use of the tools. If you are interested in attending the workshop, please call Chelsea at Rural Directions Pty Ltd on 08 8842 1103.

Last changed: Feb 16 2012

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