Pasture cropping is the simultaneous use of land for growing a perennial pasture for grazing and a cereal crop for harvest. The principle of pasture cropping is that the pasture growth can be grazed off through the winter and early spring and then the animals removed so the crop can shoot up and the grain harvested. Ideally, there is only a minimal trade-off in crop yield and significant benefits from the pasture. Generally the perennial pasture is lucerne, which not only provides grazing but aids the pasture cropping system by adding nitrogen to the soil. Pasture cropping works to the extent that the growth patterns of the pasture and cereal plants are different, with strong pasture growth in winter, and strong cereal growth in spring.
Pasture cropping in eastern Australia has been thoroughly researched under the GRDC’s Grain and Graze program. The value of pasture cropping as a viable alternative on more fragile soils in Western Australia is being explored in the Future Farm Industries CRC’s EverCrop project. In the WA pasture cropping systems, sub-tropical perennial grasses are being substituted for lucerne.Below is a link to a historical document relevant to Pasture Cropping
This website contains information about the CRC’s research into perennial plant based farming systems.
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The CRC was funded for seven years (2007-2014) under the Australian Government Cooperative Research Centre program.