A review of advances in tussock grassland
In September 1962 the Tussock Grasslands and Mountain Lands Institute produced a Directory of Research listing projects and personnel concerned with the tussock grasslands and mountain lands. The number of people involved was about 100 and the number of separate projects more than 150. It is obvious that, in trying to survey advances being made in the tussock grasslands, I cannot mention more than a few of these workers. Everyone has his own definition of tussock grassland and the area involved, but I am discussing some 11 ,000,000 acres, mainly in the South Island, carrying about two and a half million sheep and 40,000 cattle and having an importance to the New Zealand economy which cannot be assessed in stock numbers alone. In sheep equivalents these lands could be claimed to carry about one to four acres but in places so much of the area is devoid of vegetation that stocking rates in the conventional sense mean little. Wool is the basic product, yielding at least 80 per cent of the gross return, and the flocks consist of over half Merinos, a little less than one-third half-breds, and one-sixth Corriedales. I propose to review only some of the advances made since 1950. In that year a statement was made at this Association’s conference that “to New Zealand as a whole the tussock grasslands are of value for one purpose only, that is, the feeding of livestock”. That statement went unchallenged. I think most people in New Zealand would now agree on the importance of the tussock grasslands from the point of view of soil and water conservation, of their value in regulating stream-flow for stock water on the plains, for the generation of hydro-electricity, and for irrigation. Another statement made was not challenged either. I quote: “It is, however, necessary to consider carefully whether or not a legume should be introduced into unploughable tussock country. That it is possible has been demonstrated on a number of occasions. It is, however, doubtful if it is advisable. It is unlikely to be profitable. . . .” The year 1950 is also important because by then the trials on aerial sowing of seed and fertiliser organised and financed by the Soil Conservation and Rivers Control Council, urged on by D. A. Campbell, had culminated in the organisation of aerial farming on a large scale.... [Show full abstract]
Fields of Research070101 Agricultural Land Management
TypeConference Contribution - Published (Conference Paper)
Copyright © The Authors and New Zealand Grassland Association.