Sustainability of beef production from brigalow lands after cultivation and mining. 2. Acland Grazing Trial pasture and cattle performance
Sustainability of beef production from brigalow lands after
|ERA Journal ID||5178|
|Authors||Melland, Alice R. (Author), Newsome, Tom (Author), Paton, Colin J. (Author), Clewett, Jeffrey F. (Author), Bennett, John McL (Author), Eberhard, Jochen (Author) and Baillie, Craig P. (Author)|
|Journal Title||Animal Production Science|
|Journal Citation||61 (12), pp. 1262-1279|
|Number of Pages||18|
|Place of Publication||Australia|
|Digital Object Identifier (DOI)||https://doi.org/10.1071/AN20137|
|Web Address (URL)||https://www.publish.csiro.au/an/AN20137|
Context: Agricultural land used for open-cut coal mining in Queensland is required by law to be returned to a safe, stable and self-sustaining state for agriculture.
Aims: The aim of this research was to identify whether rehabilitated pastures on post-mine soil at a site near Acland could viably support cattle production.
Methods: Five years of field data from Botanal pasture assessments, pasture quality, cattle liveweights and faecal observations, plus supplementary cattle liver data, were used to compare pasture and cattle performance from mined and unmined previously cultivated brigalow land. Subtropical pasture species were sown in 2007 (Rehab1, 22 ha), 2010 (Rehab 2, 32 ha) and 2012 (Rehab3, 22 ha) in three rehabilitated paddocks and in 2012 in an unmined (Control, 21 ha) paddock. The paddocks were grazed for 117–190 days of each year by Angus cattle.
Key results: Mean total standing dry matter in grazed pasture over the five trial years was consistently higher in Rehab 2 (5656 kg/ha) than in the other paddocks. Rehab 1 (3965 kg/ha) and Rehab 3 (3609 kg/ha) performed at an intermediate level and the Control paddock produced less pasture (2871 kg/ha). Grass leaf crude protein was higher in Rehab 2 than in the other paddocks and declined significantly (P < 0.001) across all paddocks as pasture aged. Pasture species remained perennial, palatable and productive in all paddocks; however, pasture yield, quality and composition trends over time suggested that pasture rundown occurred across all paddocks. The mean liveweight gain (LWG) per head when grazing the trial paddocks (trial LWG) was higher (P < 0.05) in the Rehab 2 cohort than the other paddock cohorts in Years 3 and 5, and trial LWG in the Control cohort was not significantly (P > 0.05) different from one or more of the rehabilitated paddock cohorts each year. Cattle production per hectare during the trial grazing periods was also consistently highest in Rehab 2 (5-year mean trial LWG 131 kg/ha) compared with the other paddocks (67–80 kg/ha).
Conclusion: The rehabilitated pastures in use by the mine were considered at least as productive as the surrounding unmined brigalow landscape.
Implications: The Acland rehabilitation process was considered successful in establishing pastures that were able to viably support cattle production.
|Keywords||rehab, rehabilitation, Botanal, nitrogen, subtropical GRASP, cattle|
|ANZSRC Field of Research 2020||410405. Environmental rehabilitation and restoration|
|300302. Animal management|
|300202. Agricultural land management|
|Byline Affiliations||Centre for Agricultural Engineering|
|EcoRich Grazing, Australia|
|Centre for Sustainable Agricultural Systems|
|Institution of Origin||University of Southern Queensland|
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