Growing profit from the ground up

Saltbush thrives under short–sharp grazing regime

Trials investigating a range of pruning heights on old man saltbush revealed that pruning can keep infrequently grazed saltbush at a manageable height with no detrimental impacts on shrub health or productivity. (Photo: Hugh Drum)

Trials investigating a range of pruning heights on old man saltbush revealed that pruning can keep infrequently grazed saltbush at a manageable height with no detrimental impacts on shrub health or productivity. (Photo: Hugh Drum)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Farmer: Grumpy Schmaal
Location: Peake, South Australia
Property size: 1800ha
Average annual rainfall: 305mm
Soil types: Non-wetting sands
Enterprise mix: Dohne and Merino sheep and some cropping

When Grumpy Schmaal and his family purchased a property in Peake, South Australia, they inherited a 20–25 ha block of old man saltbush (Atriplex nummularia) that had grown so high sheep could only graze the bottom of the bushes. Trial work on an 8 ha block of the saltbush has reinforced the need to manage the shrub carefully to maintain production and height.

Key points

  • When infrequently grazed, saltbush can become tall and unwieldy, with much of the new growth at a height inaccessible to sheep.
  • Mechanical pruning to cut shrubs as low as 15 cm can bring saltbush back to a grazable height without affecting plant recovery and growth.
  • Regular grazing and recovery is the key to keeping saltbush both manageable and productive.

Click here to download the Schmaal case study (PDF 746KB)

Note: This case study was developed as part of the Enrich project under the former Future Farm Industries CRC.