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Dairy production in south-western Australia occurs predominantly on sandy soils in the greater than 800 mm annual average rainfall areas of the region. The climate is Mediterranean-type, typically with cool, wet May-October growing seasons and hot, dry November-April. Most dairy pastures are rain-fed and comprise the annual species Subterranean Clover (clover, Trifolium subterraneum L.), Annual Ryegrass (Lolium rigidum Gaud.) and Italian Ryegrass (L. multiflorum Lam.).
Paddock grown pasture is the cheapest source of feed for dairy production in the region (Dilley and Howes 1998). To remain profitable in the face of diminishing returns, dairy farmers have modified their grazing management to use as much paddock grown pasture as possible (Bolland and Guthridge 2007a, 2007b, 2009). This has been achieved by adopting the three-leaf grazing strategy for ryegrass-based pastures outlined by Fulkerson and Donaghy (2001). Pastures are rotationally grazed with grazing started when ryegrass plants have 2-3 leaves per tiller and about 80% of the pasture is consumed by lactating dairy cows at each grazing (Bolland and Guthridge 2007a, 2007b, 2009).
Number of Pages
Soil testing, Plant analysis, Pastures, South west region (W.A.), Grassland management, Phosphorus fertilizers, Potassium fertilizers, Dairy farming, Western Australia
Dairy Science | Plant Sciences
Bolland, M, Guthridge, I, Blincow, G, and Needs, P. (2010), Report on phosphorus and potassium experiments conducted on partner farms of the Greener Pastures project. Department of Agriculture and Food, Western Australia, Perth. Bulletin 4809.
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