“Mosaic agriculture” - New guide for WA pastoralists to grow forage for livestock
A five-year-project investigating the value of mosaic agriculture in the northern rangelands could provide opportunities for WA pastoralists to diversify and grow a wider range of high-quality forage for livestock.
The project — led by the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development and co-funded by its Northern Beef Development project, Meat and Livestock Australia Donor Company and the Kimberley Pilbara Cattlemen’s Association — investigated a variety of irrigated forage crops for productivity and feed quality.
Tailored management packages considering soil type, climate, irrigation, regulatory environment, pests and diseases were then formulated.
It has culminated in the development of a comprehensive guide for pastoralists, agronomists and agribusinesses in the Pilbara and Kimberley looking to grow irrigated crops and pastures.
The department claims the project has “paved the way to better exploit tropical irrigated agriculture through the use of sustainable water resources in the Pilbara and West Kimberley”.
DPIRD senior research scientist Clinton Revell said the practice, which involves relatively small dispersed irrigation developments on pastoral land, would create opportunities for pastoralists.
“Irrigated forage for use on-station can provide a valuable feed source to manage cattle during dry periods and target cattle for alternate markets, outside traditional selling periods for forward selling or price premiums,” Dr Revell said.
“There are challenges with any form of agriculture in remote areas and this will be a valuable guide to inform... pastoralists, agribusiness, potential irrigators and the broader community about the successful management of irrigated forage production in northern WA.”
‘Mosaic agriculture − A guide to irrigated crop and forage production in northern WA’ — is available at DPIRD’s Karratha, Kununurra and Broome offices or online at agric.wa.gov.au
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