No. 16/99 Tips & Tools for Sustainable Grazing Systems How to grow better Tagasaste These seasonal SEASON TACTICS guidelines are for established tagasaste Autumn s Fertilise tagasaste with phosphorus (P) and sulphur (S) at approximately plantations growing 120-200kg/ha (depending on previous fertiliser history). on deep sandy soils FERTILISE in temperate Cattle Australia. Guidelines s Manage grazing to keep plants less than 1.5m in height. This will prevent are based on results flowering in spring and improve plant palatability. Cut plants (if needed) to of research projects funded by the Meat achieve 1.5m. Livestock numbers should be manipulated with changes in & Livestock Australia, plant growth. Martindale Research ROTATE s OR ROTATIONALLY GRAZE at up to 10 cattle/ha for four weeks to Project, International remove stem, and then defer grazing to allow 10cm of new stem growth. Wool Secretariat and producer experience. s Protein/energy supplements may be required for weight gain and calving. GRAZING Feed out hay if cattle completely defoliate any tagasaste trees. s Cut tagasaste to 1.5m (if needed) after two weeks of grazing. Sheep - autumn feed gap grazing: DENSITY HIGH s High density grazing (approximately 100 dse/ha). Graze for two to three weeks until a graze line is established. GRAZING s If required, cut plants to 50-70cm to allow sheep to graze any remaining leaf. s Graze until all cut leaf is consumed but ensure no bark stripping occurs. Defer grazing after about six weeks to avoid bark stripping. s A protein/energy supplement may be required in the last two weeks of grazing. ROTATE s OR ROTATIONALLY GRAZE tagasaste for four weeks (or until all leaf is consumed) and then defer grazing to allow 10cm of new stem growth. This will encourage emerging annual pastures to establish. GRAZING Winter s If severe frosts are expected, only graze the new autumn growth over win- ter as plant deaths may occur. SET Cattle s Feed protein/energy supplements for two to three weeks after the season break. Livestock numbers should be manipulated with changes in plant STOCKING growth. Caution: tagasaste ‘staggers’ may occur in early winter. If this condition develops, feed stock good quality hay and do not muster or yard. ROTATE Cattle and sheep s Only graze after 10cm of new stem growth. This may not occur until spring after a late break. GRAZING Spring s Keep plants below 1.5m in height SET Cattle s Set stock to keep plantation below 1.5m. Manipulate stock density or cut plants (if needed) to achieve 1.5m and prevent flowering ☛ continued over STOCKING DEFER ☛ continued from previous page s Defer grazing when annual pasture is haying off. Sheep GRAZING s Defer grazing tagasaste until new growth has stems of at least 10cm. ROTATE s Graze sheep for four weeks and then defer grazing until 10cm stem regrowth is available for the next grazing. GRAZING s Defer grazing at pasture haying-off to allow regrowth. Summer Cattle DEFER s If set stocking monitor cattle liveweight and start feeding protein/energy supplements if required to maintain desired weight gain. s If rotationally grazing take tagasaste down to 1.5m in height (or for around four to six weeks). After GRAZING this time, defer grazing until autumn. Again, stock may require protein/energy supplements for ROTATE weight gain. Sheep s Graze once for about four weeks (or until a graze line is established) then defer grazing until autumn. GRAZING Plant Facts lar total annual live weight gains. Rotational grazing generally pro- and early summer and up to 0.8kg/hd/day is not uncommon q Tagasaste (or tree lucerne) is a vides better management flexibili- in late summer and autumn. deep-rooted, perennial, legumi- ty and allows strategic plant use q In autumn, fertilise to maintain a nous, fodder shrub suitable for when other pasture feed sources plant tissue P concentration of growth on well drained soils. It is a are poor. >0.32mg/kg in spring. Tissue-test strategic feed source during dry q Maintain stocking rates to prevent tagasaste samples in spring to months or when annual pasture is flowering. If tagasaste flowers, ensure rates are adequate - soil of poor feed value and can be use- production will be decreased by as testing is not an accurate indica- ful for soil erosion control and sta- much as 50%, bark stripping by tion of requirements as a tagasaste bilising water tables. sheep will increase and leaf drop shrubs have a deep root system q Growth rates are determined by may occur. To prevent flowering, that can tap minerals deep within soil fertility and moisture. Fertilise graze or cut tagasaste to less than the soil profile. Pluck 10 shoots with phosphorous, sulphur and 1.5m before spring. (about 10cm in length) from at manganese to optimise plant q Tagasaste will need to be cut every least 20 individual shrubs for tis- growth - manganese will be one to three years if grazed by sue testing. required in some locations as indi- sheep and every three to five years q If blue lupins have been sown cated by tissue testing. Potash is when grazed by cattle (depending between tagasaste rows, monitor thought to increase tagasaste on available grazing pressure). grazing stock for alkaloid poison- palatability and may also be bene- q Cutting tagasaste in summer and ing (staggers and fitting) once ficial. autumn increases palatability of lupins are in pod. If poisoning q Higher plant production will be cut material. Do not cut tagasaste occurs, move stock slowly out of achieved on perched (raised) when either severe frost or severe the paddock and defer grazing water tables and with significant insect attack is expected. This may until pods have shattered. Also summer rainfall events (>20mm). kill the plant. monitor for lupinosis in summer q Insect attack on tagasaste pro- q Plantations can normally only be (weight loss and jaundice). duces a tannin-like compound that rotationally grazed by sheep for q Grazing tagasaste under drought reduces protein and digestibility periods of less than six weeks conditions is unlikely to kill the levels. before deferring grazing. Sheep plant - however a roughage sup- q Tagasaste is very drought tolerant allowed to graze for longer will plement such as hay is recom- when grown on deep, free-drain- often bark strip which can kill mended to prevent complete defo- ing soils. However under moisture plants. Good management, follow- liation of the tagasaste and a pro- ing the above guidelines, will pro- tein/energy supplement will be stress the shrub has low palatabili- mote multi-stemmed rather than needed to maintain livestock ty, reduced crude protein and poor weight. metabolisable energy levels. single-stemmed shrubs, resulting in increased grazing periods. q Under severe moisture stress For assistance: q Tagasaste can be used as the tagasaste may drop leaves, but Contact you local pasture roughage component of a finish- will rarely die. or livestock adviser. ing ration for cattle by feeding Management tips stock 1% of body weight in lupins/day while grazing A C K N O W L E D G M E N T S q Tagasaste persists under both set tagasaste. Cattle growth rates M. Seymour, C. Oldham & T. stocking or rotational grazing with equivalent to feedlot rations are Lefroy, Agriculture WA cattle. Both systems produce simi- achievable in late winter, spring Disclaimer: Every attempt has been made to include information that will benefit beef and sheep producers in southern Australia. Meat and Livestock Australia Limited and authors accept no responsibility for action taken as a result of the information contained. Readers are strongly advised to contact the specialists listed for more detailed instruction or further information.
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