Adapting farm systems to a drier future
In the Starborough-Flaxbourne area the local farming community, alarmed at the increasing hill slope erosion, set up a soil conservation group. Accelerated erosion was a symptom of the past 12 years of below average rainfall. Removal of vegetative cover by livestock had enabled wind to erode areas of the thin topsoil exposing vulnerable sodic subsoil to rill and tunnel erosion. This highlighted the need for farms to adapt their livestock systems to a drier environment if they were to survive. An adaptation process had been undertaken on Bonavaree by the land owners, the Avery family. In redesigning their farm system they moved away from ryegrass pastures and brassica crops to a lucerne grazing system. This system prioritised the performance of multiple bearing ewes, high pre-weaning lamb liveweight gains (390 g/day) and a rigorous decision making process that avoided relying on the most risky periods of forage growth. The result has been 5 years of an improving economic farm surplus, lower grazing pressure on hill slopes and improving vegetative cover.... [Show full abstract]
TypeConference Contribution - Published (Conference Paper)
Copyright © The Authors and New Zealand Grassland Association.