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Project name Evaluation of strip tillage and direct drilling sowing methods for pasture renovation in low rainfall regions of Tasmania
Funding bodies Australian Government Future Drought Fund via NRM South
Lead researcher Rowan Smith
Partners NRM South, NRM North, AgriProve, Producer Groups, Host farmers

Renovating pastures in low-rainfall dryland environments presents challenges for land managers. Successful establishment of perennial pastures relies heavily on preparation; reducing likely competition from weeds, addressing soil constraints, and choosing appropriate species and cultivars are key steps. However, once the seed is in the ground, success is largely determined by soil moisture and rainfall. While farmers can undertake practices that limit evaporation, they have little control over rainfall.

This project seeks to evaluate the relative merits of direct drilling and the relatively novel method of strip tillage. The key advantages direct drilling over full cultivation are related to less soil disturbance, resulting in reduced risk of erosion, reduced evaporation, and less volunteer weed germination. Strip tillage and no herbicide application prior to sowing has been promoted as techniques for maintaining healthy microbial activity, building soil carbon and providing a low-risk method of renovating pastures.

Watch this video about a field day held at Lewisham (May 2022) including a demonstration of novel sowing machinery and an on-farm trial focussing on winter forage.

Video: Pasture renovation trials and the launch of Farming forecaster in Tasmania.

Further information about the NRM Funded drought resilience project can be found here; Supporting farmers for drought resilience - NRM South