Promoting best-practice feedbase management to deliver improved drought resilience in low to medium rainfall regions through on-farm demonstrations and case studies

Project Location
On EP: Warramboo, Wudinna, Kimba, Darke Peak
Project Manager
Naomi Scholz
Start Date
July 2022
Finish Date
June 2024
Funding Source
FDF Soil & Landscape Grant via University of Adelaide
Key People Involved
Matt Denton (University of Adelaide)


This consortium project will demonstrate the application of best practice pasture management options to deliver enhanced drought resilience. Natural capital will be increased by

1) Extending the pasture growing season.

2) Increasing the ground cover of pastures to protect soils.

This will be achieved by using better-adapted pasture species and mixtures and by implementing best practice technologies in pasture establishment and management.

Farming systems groups, landscape boards, experts in pastures and livestock that are all partners in the SA Drought Hub, will collaborate to implement up to 18 core sites in the Mallee (Lowbank Ag Bureau), upper and mid Eyre Peninsula (AIR EP), and the mid-north SA (BIGG), to demonstrate and scale out their use on farm.

In 2022, 3 x 10 ha sites were established on upper EP.

The aim of the 10 hectare trial plots is to evaluate how a mix of pasture legumes that contains varieties with complimentary season lengths and that have shown to be adapted to different components of variable dune-swale landscape perform on a broad scale. It is hypothesised that the pasture species will eventually self-sort into more specifically adapted zones within the pasture and extend the pasture growing season. The benefits of improved feedbase establishment and pasture management productivity and profitability along with soil, water and biodiversity will be monitored to quantify the economic and drought resilience benefits at farm enterprise and landscape-scale.

Pasture mix

Cultivar Type Rate Traits Reason for inclusion
 ‘Frano’ French Serradella 3 kg/ha Hard seed; aerial harvested and suited to summer sowing Aerial harvest, performs well on sandy dunes, especially acidic dunes.
Seraph Strand Medic 3 kg/ha Powdery mildew resistant; tolerant of SU herbicide residues Best adapted medic variety for local conditions, expected to perform well on midslopes
Penfield Barrel Medic 3 kg/ha Tolerant SU herbicide residues; spineless, B tolerant; resistant to BGA and SAA Early barrel medic, expected to perform well in swale.

Above: Veitch’s Warramboo trial site in November 2022, with serradella the dominant species on the slightly acidic sandhill and medics senescing in the alkaline flats in the background. All species established well and produced high dry matter throughout 2022; the serradella was able to capitalise on late season rains and continue growing much later in the season compared to the medics.

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