Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)



How can I find out if perennials are suited to my farm?

Research by Future Farm Industries CRC and the former CRC Salinity has identified a range of perennials well-suited for integration into Australian broadacre agriculture.

Where these plants can be used depends on climate, soil and position in the landscape.

To help determine what perennials are best suited to your farm, Future Farm Industries CRC has released Prospects for Perennials, which outlines a range of perennials suitable as forage plants. Prospects for perennials refines the regional suitability of these plants by provided an overview of 12 agro-climatic zones of southern Australia, the best species suited to theses and their preferred soil types, as well as related case studies.

Download Prospects for perennials. The CRC’s publications section also contains a wealth of information on how perennials can be used on the farm.



Isn’t changing over to perennials an expensive activity?

The decision to change from annual pastures to perennials should not be taken lightly.

There are initial establishment costs associated with incorporated perennials into farming systems such as sowing and weed control. However, this varies depending on the perennial plant(s) and farming systems in question.

Once the grazing or cropping system is established, it will reward additional management demands with greater results.



What are the benefits of adding perennials to a farming system?

Making perennials part of your farming system can boost productivity and bring environmental benefits.

Finding the right mix of perennials to complement your farming system can make your pastures remain green and productive during the drier times of the year by utilising all the water moisture available in the soil – including water from unseasonal rainfall. This can increase stocking rates and reduce dependency on supplementary feed sources. Perennials that can grow in salt-affect land can also make marginal areas a productive part of the farm. Visit the Saltland Genie website to find out more on how perennials can make saline land more productive by reducing the impact of salinity on the landscape.

Since perennials plants have deep roots and persist all year round, they provide a variety of environmental benefits such as reducing the impact of wind and water erosion, increasing biodiversity and providing shelter for livestock.



What is a perennial plant?

A perennial plant is a plant that lives for more than two years and maintains its growth year to year from its root-stock. They occur in a variety of shapes, from grasses to trees, can be long or short lived and grow in a variety of climatic conditions.



What kind of research is Future Farm Industries CRC involved in?

The Future Farm Industries CRC utilises expertise from a multitude of disciplines within its Participant organisations to undertake research and assist in the adoption of perennials by Australia’s broadacre farmers. It has plant breeders, animal scientists, environmental scientists, economists, social scientists, engineers, policy analysis experts, agronomists and other specialists involved in unique and innovative research projects that have the common goal of facilitating the use of perennials at the on-farm, catchment or regional level. Find out more about the CRC's research.



Who can I contact to find out more about perennials?

We also recommend that you browse through our publication section and our research pages.

Three additional websites created from CRC projects provide detailed information:

State government agencies throughout Australia are also involved in promoting perennial usage in farming systems and have extensive online information that could be useful.

These departments are:

Your local Catchment Management Authority, also known as Natural Resource Management councils or boards in some states, and farmer groups are also likely to be able to provide you with information about perennials and associated field trial work. Agronomists associated with companies like Landmark can also be a good source of information about the on-farm use of perennials.



Why the focus on perennial plants?

Perennials plants have deeper roots when compared to annual plants commonly used in Australian agriculture. These deeper roots allow perennial plants to access water stored deeper in the soil profile which enables them to grow and maintain ground cover during the drier periods of the year. Their deep and extensive root systems are also effective in reducing the impact of salinity by lowering the water table and preventing soil erosion by binding soil. For more information, please read the Why Perennials Fact Sheet.


Future Farm Industries Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) ceased trading on 30 June 2014.

This website contains information about the CRC’s research into perennial plant based farming systems.

This site will remain live until 30 June 2017 but is no longer being updated or reviewed.

Further information about CRC research projects can be obtained by following links from relevant project pages or by viewing the research transfer page.

The CRC was funded for seven years (2007-2014) under the Australian Government Cooperative Research Centre program.