The Macfield farm site is representative of basalt soils on the Monaro grazing region of southern NSW. It is located just south of a grazing area dominated by granite soils covering about 80,000ha along the Cooma-Canberra corridor. This granite soil area is heavily infested with the noxious weed African Lovegrass which is having a devastating impact on the viability of local grazing properties. African Lovegrass is slowly spreading from granite soils to basalt soils. The purpose of this case study is to look at soil management as another tool graziers can use to prevent the spread of the weed into basalt country.
The use of ASM treatments and pasture management practices has exceeded expectations, particularly over this short time frame (just over two years). There has been a 50% reduction in African Lovegrass populations, replaced by preferred pasture grasses, natives and annual broadleaf species (mostly harmless and often edible) from the soil seed bank.
Beneficial changes in pasture composition have been matched by improvements in soil quality. Organic matter has increased by 55% with a five-fold increase in available phosphorous. Total nitrogen has increased by 50% and sulphur has increased by 30% to an acceptable level. Calcium has increased but more is still needed. A zinc deficiency has been corrected and boron has increased but could still rise further.
Location: Cooma, NSW
Aim: Weed control (African Lovegrass)
Results: There has been a 50% reduction in African Lovegrass populations, replaced by preferred pasture grasses, natives and annual broadleaf species (mostly harmless and often edible) from the soil seed bank.
This Case Study was jointly funded by ASM and the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA). NSW EPA provided financial support under their Organics Market Development Program to demonstrate the use of recycled organics on farms in NSW.
The Snowy Monaro Regional Council is gratefully acknowledged for the supply of high quality compost used in the formulation of treatments for this case study.