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Authors Thomas, DT; White, CL; Hardy, J; Collins, JP; Ryder, A; Norman, HC
Author Full Name Thomas, D. T.; White, C. L.; Hardy, J.; Collins, J. -P.; Ryder, A.; Norman, H. C.
Title An on-farm evaluation of the capability of saline land for livestock production in southern Australia
Source ANIMAL PRODUCTION SCIENCE
Language English
Document Type Article
Keywords Plus ATRIPLEX-NUMMULARIA; SODIUM CHLORIDE; SHEEP; SALTBUSH; PERFORMANCE; PERSISTENCE; LEGUMES; GROWTH; AUTUMN; SITES
Abstract Grazing livestock on revegetated saline land is one of few pro. table options to continue using this class of agricultural land. However, there has been little research conducted to assess the capability of saline land to support livestock production based on the soil and water characteristics at a particular site. In this study, data from 11 grazing studies collected from eight commercial farms across southern Australia were used to estimate metabolisable energy (ME) utilised/ha, as well as total ME produced/ha. All data were from the autumn (March-May) period, when feed is normally in short supply and of limited quality. Site characteristics indicative of the severity of salinisation varied across the sites. Topsoil electrical conductivity (ECe) ranged from 1 to 33 dS/m and groundwater EC from 14 to 60 dS/m (equivalent to sea water). Feed on offer before grazing varied from 700 kg dry matter/ha to 9000 kg dry matter/ha between sites. Thinopyrum ponticum and Puccinellia ciliata featured prominently in the less saline revegetated sites, with Atriplex spp. present on the more saline sites and some lucerne and rhodes grass on the less saline, well drained sites. Grazing days per ha for sheep (ME-adjusted dry sheep equivalent) on autumn pastures across the sites ranged from 41 to 3600, and liveweight gains ranged from-95 to 314 g/sheep. day. The grazing value of the highest producing saltland was at least as high as that expected on adjacent areas that were not salt affected. The major advantage of establishing saltland pastures included an out-of-season feed supply high in crude protein and micronutrients that possessed the ability to capture summer and autumn rain. This should represent a substantial reduction in supplementary feed costs and increases the flexibility of methods for feeding livestock through periods of low annual pasture availability. The value of the ME produced on the highest yielding saltland pasture was estimated to be $360/ha based on substituting the best alternative strategy of purchasing lupin grain as a supplement. A quadratic relationship (R(2)=0.62, P=0.024) was found between soil ECe and ME produced across the sites. Significant relationships were not found between other saline site characteristics and ME production, which partly reflects the complexity of these systems as well as limitations with site characterisation.
Author Address [Thomas, D. T.; White, C. L.; Norman, H. C.] CSIRO Livestock Ind, Ctr Environm & Life Sci, Wembley, WA 6913, Australia; [Hardy, J.; Ryder, A.] Dept Agr & Food Western Australia, Katanning, WA 6330, Australia; [Collins, J. -P.] Dept Agr & Food Western Australia, Katanning, WA 6317, Australia; [Norman, H. C.] Univ Western Australia, Future Farm Ind CRC, Crawley, WA 6009, Australia
Reprint Address Thomas, DT (corresponding author), CSIRO Livestock Ind, Ctr Environm & Life Sci, Private Bag 5, Wembley, WA 6913, Australia.
E-mail Address dean.thomas@csiro.au
ResearcherID Number Thomas, Dean/E-4096-2010; Norman, Hayley C/B-9808-2008
ORCID Number Thomas, Dean/0000-0001-6653-2315; Norman, Hayley C/0000-0002-2660-9573
Funding Agency and Grant Number Land, Water and Wool Program, through the SGSL subprogram
Funding Text The generous collaboration and input into the sites by the host farmers is gratefully acknowledged. Thank you Ted, Jenny and Tony Altham, Deane and Sarah Aynsley, Craig Bignell, Terry and Linda Lee, Bart Hulls, Dean Hull, John Pepall and Malcolm Schaefer. We would also like to thank Linda Vernon, Trayning CLC for her support in this project. This work was supported by funds from the Land, Water and Wool Program, through the SGSL subprogram.
Times Cited 5
Total Times Cited Count (WoS, BCI, and CSCD) 5
Publisher CSIRO PUBLISHING
Publisher City COLLINGWOOD
Publisher Address 150 OXFORD ST, PO BOX 1139, COLLINGWOOD, VICTORIA 3066, AUSTRALIA
ISSN 1836-5787
29-Character Source Abbreviation ANIM PROD SCI
ISO Source Abbreviation Anim. Prod. Sci.
Year Published 2009
Volume 49
Issue 1
Beginning Page 79
Ending Page 83
Digital Object Identifier (DOI) 10.1071/EA08122
Page Count 5
Web of Science Category Agriculture, Dairy & Animal Science
Subject Category Agriculture
Document Delivery Number 410ZF
Unique Article Identifier WOS:000263616100011
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