Impact of pasture quality on grazing

The quality of pasture is just as critical for grazing livestock as the quantity of pasture available. Pasture provides livestock with nutrition, vitamins, minerals and trace elements – promoting animal health and productivity.

If pasture has limited nutrients, animals may lose weight or not reproduce, and expensive supplementary feeding may be necessary.

The amount of nutrients needed by an animal varies according to the animal's age, size and lactation status. Large, old or pregnant animals need more nutrients, while younger, growing animals need diets with higher levels of protein.

Near Infrared Reflectance Spectroscopy (NIRS) and pasture management

NIRS technology allows you to assess the nutritional deficiencies of livestock and understand the change in nutrition of pastures throughout the year.

NIRS analyses cattle and sheep faecal samples to predict, for example, the amount of crude protein in the animal's diet, the percentage of dry feed that is broken down and absorbed, and the animal's growth rate.

Find out more about NIRS.

Improving pasture quality

The best ways to improve pasture quality will depend on the land type and climate; however, common methods include:

  • improving land condition (through spelling and other grazing land management tools)
  • fire
  • sowing introduced pastures.

Find out more about improving pasture for grazing.

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