request quote  |  search  |  about  |  where
Mon, 19 November 2018

Experiences with Old Man Salt Bush - Geoff Chase

Why we grew OMSB

  • We were looking for an additional and drought resistant feed source
  • By growing OMSB, it would take the pressure off the already existing improved and natural pastures.

Research

  • In 1995, we visited a property where OMSB was growing and looking promising.
  • The manager of Grazing Management Systems detailed his experiences with OMSB.
  • Research continues by liaising with Grazing Management Systems, the Department of Agriculture and talking to other farmers with OMSB.

Planning To Grow OMSB

How much?

  • Consider the costs
  • Area big enough to stock 1000 sheep for 4 months after 3 years.

Where?

  • Soil type had to be suitable for OMSB
  • Need to fit in with existing structures – fences and watering points

Action

  • Paddocks chosen had been used for irrigation. The soils were heavy soils prone to caking adjacent to the Bogan River where there was a risk of flooding. It is believed that at one time OMSB may have occurred naturally there.
  • Sowed 7 Ha a day in single rows using a planter operated by two people, a third driving the tractor and a fourth coming along behind to ensure all speedling roots were well covered with soil.
  • Water at a rate of 250 – 300 ml was applied to each speedling at the time of planting ( around 800L/Ha).
  • Plantings:
    • March 1996 18Ha
    • June/July 1996 40 Ha
    • September 1996 18Ha
    • May 1997 13Ha

Early Management

  • Weed control during first 6 months in particular over the winter when the speedling’s growth is slow compared with that of weeds.
    • Roundup at the rate of 250-350mls/Ha controlled young grass without damage to OMSB.
    • Stocking at high rates (eg on plants 5 months old, 2000 ewes in 5Ha for 12 hours).
  • Training graze – light graze when plants reached 40-50 cms to encourage plants to bush out.
  • Stocking rates on subsequent grazes were up to 10DSE/Ha compared to 3DSE on natural pastures.

What we learnt

  • We would have benefited more by completing a HRM course prior to planting OMSB rather than later.
  • Our paddocks were too large.
  • Stock take about 2 weeks to learn to eat OMSB.
  • We left the bush too long between grazings. Plants become rank and too tall.
  • Planting in rows 3 metres apart makes mustering difficult

OMSB from here

  • Keep paddocks to less than 10 H, preferably 5 Ha.
  • Move away from tanks to troughs.
  • Plant in rows alternately 2 metres and 4 metres apart. (We are going to try plantings rows alternatively 2 metres and 5 metres apart to provide more ground cover to allow stock to adjust to a saltbush diet)
  • In future plantings we will only work up the paddock in 3 metre strips where OMSB will be planted so preserving the native grasses in between.
  • Use stock accustomed to eating OMSB to train younger animals to eat it.
  • Use supplementary feed when there is no ground cover available.
  • Plant more OMSB from current 110Ha to 200 Ha for coping with an average drought.

General Comments

  • Pastures are the real source of income – animals are the factory to convert plants to marketable products.
  • Better pastures = better end products.
  • Think about drought when it rains – that is the only time we have control over what grows. Use OMSB in good times to allow recovery of natural pastures.
  • When ground cover is scarce, stock are young or unaccustomed to eating OMSB, provide supplementary feed. Don’t panic and take stock off.
  • It is possible to plan grazings in advance.
  • saltbush is like any crop – the better the soil the better the crop.

Conclusions

  • Plan
  • Train
  • Plan
  • Use small grazing areas
  • Have short grazing periods
  • Allow all pastures a recovery period before further grazing if possible.

Think of OMSB in conjunction with the remainder of the property. Use it as a tool along with natural and improved pastures to maximize production and to assist in drought management.

Return to Field Day reports

© Grazing Management Systems 2001-2004, 2005
PO Box 34  Narromine  NSW, 2821
Australia
Phone:(02) 6889 4300  |  Fax:(02) 6889 4500
gms@oldmansaltbush.com
Request a Quotation


Search Our site

Google
WWW oldmansaltbush.com

Your random quote for the day.... (about...)


Even if someone doesn't care what the world thinks about them, they always hope their mother doesn't find out.