Perennial pastures for marginal farming country in southern Queensland. 1. Grass establishment techniques

Richard G. Silcock, Cass H. Finlay


Efficient ways to re-establish pastures are needed on land that requires a rotation between pastures and crops.  We conducted trials in southern inland Queensland with a range of tropical perennial grasses sown into wheat stubble that was modified in various ways.  Differing seedbed preparations involved cultivation or herbicide sprays, with or without fertilizer at sowing.  Seed was broadcast and sowing time ranged from spring through to autumn on 3 different soil types.  Seed quality and post-sowing rainfall were major determinants of the density of sown grass plants in the first year.  Light cultivation sometimes enhanced establishment compared with herbicide spraying of standing stubble, most often on harder-setting soils.  A nitrogen + phosphorus mixed fertilizer rarely produced any improvement in sown grass establishment and sometimes increased weed competition.  The effects were similar for all types of grass seed from hairy fascicles to large, smooth panicoid seeds and minute Eragrostis seeds.  There was a strong inverse relationship between the initial density of sown grass established and the level of weed competition.

Keywords: Cultivation, fertilizer, seed morphology, sowing time, weeds, glyphosate.

DOI: 10.17138/TGFT(3)1-14

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