Pourakino Catchment Conservation Trust (PCCT) is acutely aware of wintering pressures and the need to revisit existing practices. Exacerbated by dairy expansion since 1990, wintering on crops has attracted much negative attention from an environmental and animal welfare perspective.
This pilot trial looks to explore alternative pastures and forages, designed to be highly resistant to treading. Current grasses are bred for high productivity, but if certain pasture paddocks were planted to be pugging-resilient, could the trade off in production be worth it, and could a system be designed to cope with particularly adverse weather events?
The project farmer has started the process of sowing alternative species with various strips of sward mixes. Establishment and first year sward production will be recorded by the farmer, with voluntary assistance from Agricom. An agricultural scientist/field technician will be engaged to help with planning set up for wintering and recording observations for the demonstration sites.
A field day will be held to show the demonstration site and the effect of the pasture covers, grazing management and wintering system. At the conclusion of winter, a report on the observations, measures, learnings and recommendations for winter 2023 will be available that can potentially lead onto a stage two study.