Tropical Grasslands (2004) Volume 38, 140–153

The economic performance of steers grazing black speargrass pastures oversown with legumes in south Queensland, Australia

N.D. MACLEOD1 AND S.J. COOK2

1 CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystems, St Lucia, Queensland, Australia
2 Landmark, Dalby, Queensland, Australia

Abstract

Results are presented from a grazing trial conducted from 1989–1996 in subtropical Queensland that explored the effect of oversowing legumes into native pastures on beef production and financial returns. The legumes were established by bandseeding, a strip-sowing operation involving a specialised planter incorporating a herbicide application to reduce grass competition in the sown strips.
Although the trial period was characterised by conditions of severe drought, requiring the legume paddocks to be resown in early 1993, sowing legumes conferred significant animal production advantages over the native pasture treatments in all but one year of the trial. This advantage came from relatively small presentation yields of legume (70–224 kg/ha) in the pastures. An economic model incorporating the trial data confirmed that oversowing native pastures with legumes is a potentially profitable investment. Nevertheless, it has definite risks associated with establishment success and profitability is highly dependent on the ultimate carrying capacity of the oversown pasture.

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