Home > Resource Consulting Services FGFP graduates learn how pasture cropping in low rainfall seasons optimises growth

Resource Consulting Services FGFP graduates learn how pasture cropping in low rainfall seasons optimises growth

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article image Farmer Matt Barton uses a combination of pasture cropping and dry sowing practices to yield optimal crops in low rainfall seasons

A group of 17 graduates of the Resource Consulting Services  Farming&GrazingforProfit (FGFP) school recently saw first-hand how Wellington farmer Matt Barton has overcome the dry farming environment and reduced his carbon footprint by combining pasture cropping and dry sowing practices.

After completing their course, the FGFP graduates visiting Mr Barton learned that in the dry season ‘in-crop’ rain is more valuable than if it is used for planting. The philosophy behind this concept is that when the seasons are so dry and there is so little rain, the most valuable way to use the rain is in the crop for growth, not at planting.

“I have a system in place now that makes use of the rain when it comes rather than just waiting for the rain before I plant anything at all,” says Mr Barton.

On his property Mr Barton has not only produced a good crop in a dry season, he has also reduced his carbon footprint (and input costs) by combining the practice of pasture cropping with dry sowing. He does not need to apply fertiliser, uses minimal knock down herbicides, and his fuel bill is significantly reduced because he only has 3 tractor passes all year.

Barton's method of pasture cropping sees him directly drilling his wheat crop into native pastures. Across the farm all paddocks have native grasses with varying degrees of cover.
“My intention is to concentrate on dry sown planting as much as possible because every year since I have implemented the system, dry sown has made the difference,” Barton said. “It’s a low risk way of farming with good potential outcomes.”
As Barton uses pasture cropping, he is able to feed off the crop and rotationally graze his pastures by buying in cattle at a reduced price if the season stays dry, and still achieve a yield from his paddock.
“Pasture cropping has a more effective water cycle than conventional farming, so you capture a lot more of a small fall to absorb into the crop, whereas conventional farming will have evaporation loss and poorer uptake by plants,” Barton explained.
The principles of pasture cropping are incorporated into the Resource Consulting Services Farming&GrazingforProfit course.

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