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Technical annual report 2000-01



Technical annual report 2000-01


Dept. of Regional Development, Primary Industry, Fisheries and Resources technical annual report; Department of Regional Development, Primary Industry, Fisheries and Resources technical and annual report; Reports; PublicationNT; Technical bulletin (Northern Territory. Dept. of Primary Industry and Fisheries) ; no. 295




Made available via the Publications (Legal Deposit) Act 2004 (NT).






Agriculture -- Northern Territory -- Periodicals; Fisheries -- Northern Territory -- Periodicals

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Dept. of Primary Industry and Fisheries

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Technical bulletin (Northern Territory. Dept. of Primary Industry and Fisheries) ; no. 295



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Technical Annual Report 2000/01 67 PROJECT: Cograzing Cattle and Camels for Commercial Production Project Officers: A. Phillips, C.Hill and G. Crawford Location: Waite River Station, via Alice Springs Objective: To quantify the expected production benefit per unit area of land from co-grazing cattle and camels compared to grazing cattle only. To determine the impact camels have on native topfeed species when introduced to a new area. To determine the impact camels have on woody weed species when introduced to a new area. To estimate the composition and amount of pasture consumed by cattle and camel co-grazing compared to cattle grazing only. To increase understanding of practical handling and management issues associated with co grazing (such as important animal behaviour). To develop recommendations for co-grazing cattle and camels for profitable commercial production. Background: This project began in July 1997 and was completed in 2001. The project investigated the differences between grazing cattle only and cograzing cattle and camels in two paddocks on Waite River Station, 250 km north-east of Alice Springs. The project was partially funded by the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation (RIRDC). The project had four components: 1. tree and shrub impact monitoring; 2. pasture utilisation monitoring; 3. animal production measurements; 4. camel feeding and behavioural observations; Summary of findings: The project and a RIRDC report have been completed, meeting all objectives. Also, a condensed scientific paper has been prepared for presentation at the North Australian Beef Industry Conference in November 2001, to be held in Kununurra. Main results and conclusions are detailed below. Pasture plants, utilisation and ground cover During the drought conditions of late 1999, the cograzed paddock had only half the pasture (32 kg/ha) of the DPI (cattle-only) paddock and only 20% of what was available in the control (ungrazed) paddock. However, after rain periods, both treatment paddocks recorded similar yields of 400 460 kg/ha in February 2000 and 930 940 kg/ha in May 2000. On all occasions the cograzed paddock had significantly less quantity of total forbs, and that was the only consistent impact attributable to cograzing during the trial. However, there was no consistent impact for any forb species in terms of percentage frequency of occurrence. Camels were suppressing forb production but this did not translate to an impact on the number of plants per unit area during the trial period. On no occasion did cograzing have any additional impact on perennial or annual pasture grass species, when compared with cattle grazing only, both in terms of quantity available or frequency of occurrence. Cograzing did lead to a significantly greater number of bare ground plots being recorded during drought conditions, but this ground cover was quickly restored when good rains returned.