Soils Self Repair to Minimise Grazing Compaction

US - New guidelines for managing stock grazing on cultivations show as long as at least two wetting/drying cycles are completed prior to sowing, swelling soils can self-repair and minimise subsequent grain yield loss.
calendar icon 16 May 2012
clock icon 2 minute read

The Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC)-supported research carried out under Grain and Graze II – Northern Region shows average yields of grazed and ungrazed plots were similar in 2011, despite evidence of trampling damage in the soil post-grazing.

Dr Chris Guppy, University of New England says the results suggest permanent damage to yield following grazing of fertile cracking clay soils may not be as high as first thought.

“Many growers choose not to graze the fertile cracking clay soils of northern NSW due to concerns about the impact of livestock trampling on soil,” Dr Guppy said.

“Soil compaction impedes root growth and slows water infiltration, which may potentially increase runoff and erosion.

“Trials suggest the damage from livestock trampling on cracking clays is not as high as first thought, and self-mulching properties allow repair of soil structure prior to planting of following crops.”

As part of the GRDC-supported Grain and Graze initiative researchers sought to investigate the effects of cattle trampling on subsequent grain yield on two four-hectare paddocks at McMaster Research Station, Warialda, NSW.

“New techniques in cattle tracking and measurement of soil porosity were trialled to shed light on the interactions between grazing damage and subsequent crop yield,” Dr Guppy said.

“Earlier we reported that prior to sowing wheat in 2011, cattle grazing in spring 2010 resulted in compaction of the clods relative to the ungrazed control.

“By the time of sowing however, a wet summer had relatively uniformly refilled the soil profile in both grazed and ungrazed plots.”

TheCattleSite News Desk

© 2000 - 2023 - Global Ag Media. All Rights Reserved | No part of this site may be reproduced without permission.