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Farmer and Settler, Friday 13 April 1928, page 8



Improvement of Grasses




The agrostologist of the N.S.W. Department of Agriculture (Mr. J. N. Whittet, H.D.A.). delivered an interesting and instructive lecture, illustrated by lantern slides, to members of the Institute of Stock Inspectors at their annual conference in Sydney on Thursday, in the course of which he referred to the work of improvement of the pastures on pastoralists' and farmers' holdings. With the present value of stock, especially sheep, landholders (he said) were showing great interest in the matter of increasing the carrying capacity of their pasture land. During the last two years the greatest activity had been shown in coastal districts, where the need was felt for summer and winter grasses, and also the clovers, which would give a change of feed from paspalum, kikuyu, phalaris bulbosa, tall oat, cocksfoot, tall fescue, wimmera rye and perennial rye grasses. Also perennial red Iadine and subterranean clovers were giving excellent results. Special attention was also being given to the renovation of paspalum pastures. On the tablelands phalaris bulbosa was the best winter grass and tall oat, the fescues, perennial rye and cocksfoot grasses, Chilian, perennial red, cow grass and subterranean clovers and sheep's burnet, were being largely used for permanent pastures as they were succulent, frost-resistant plants, whereas the majority of grasses in the native pastures were coarse, dry and unpalatable during winter months.

On parts of the slopes and in the Riverina, where Wimmera rye grass and lucerne had been sown, on old cultivation land, excellent results had been obtained, the carrying capacity being more than doubled, and ewes and lambs had access to green feed in paddocks free of grass seed. Subterranean clover was also being extensively sown.

In the drier parts of the State, and under harsh conditions, in other parts, where clovers did not thrive, more lucerne should be grown for grazing purposes. Where lucerne had been sown in the dry districts, it was the only green feed available during the late summer and early autumn months.

In the drier parts of the State attention was being given to the raising of seed of the best of the native grasses, such as Mitchell, Flinders, Warrego Summer, Coolah, Wallaby, Native Millet, and saltbushes and fodder trees.

A native grass that was giving great promise in the west, was giant panic (panicum antidotala), which was very drought resistant.

Intending growers of sudan grass were warned only to sow pure Sudan seed because if seed containing sorghum or sorghum-sudan hybrid seed were planted the young plants resulting from these impurities were likely to cause stock poisoning.

A special feature of the lecture was a series of lantern slides, which illustrated the work of increasing the carrying capacity of pastures by top-dressing with fertilisers.

The phenomenal results obtained from the use of superphosphate in coastal, slopes and tableland districts were strikingly illustrated.


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