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Land Management on Farms in Southern Gippsland and Westernport

Fertiliser Management | Effluent Management | Pasture Management | Winter Grazing | Cultivation | Erosion Control | Farm Access | Riparian Zones | Drainage | Whole Farm Planning | Biodiversity on Farms | Feedpads | Trees on Farms | Wet Areas on Farms

The information in this section is aimed at providing some tips that relate to land and water management in this region. Each farming system is different and a management strategy that may be practical and economical on one farm may be unsuitable for another. The knowledge of a landholder/manager will enable the most suitable management ideas to be implemented. Land managers should look at all options or strategies to see what is best for their farm. This information has been developed from the following projects:Photo: Farm in Southern Gippsland

Better Management of Surface Water in Intensive Grazing

This (formerly) NRE/NHT project was completed in 2002. It focused on demonstration sites in the Bass and Lang Lang River catchments (i.e. at Nyora, Loch, Drouin South and Lang Lang). On these sites, various combinations of grassed waterways, fencing, re-vegetated drainage lines, sediment raps, wetlands, water storages and track access improvements were utilised. All sites focused on providing benefits to the landholder in terms of productivity and/or farm improvements, as well as environmental benefits - and were regularly monitored by landholders for water quality. The project also focused on the many practices which reduce the speed and improve the quality of run-off whilst providing the landholder with additional benefits such as increased production. The project was managed by Janine Price (formaly of DPI).

Sustainable Strzelecki Agriculture

Sustainable Strzelecki Agriculture (SSA) was an Upper Westernport Catchment Sustainable Management Project. The Upper Westernport Catchment Sustainable Management Project was supported by the Victorian Government through the Second Generation Landcare Grants Program. The SSA project covered the Poowong, Mt Lyall, Triholm, Loch, Nyora and surrounding communities in the Strzelecki & Westernport region. Sustainable Strzelecki Agriculture had many different projects underway - covering issues related to control of effluent runoff, farm tracks, erosion, waterlogged paddocks, management of land use for pea crops, improvement of barren paddocks, loss of nutrients, effluent re-use and management of pasture using different fertiliser types. The SSA project was managed by Natalya Stivic.

Information developed from these projects was also used in the development of Land Management Calendars which presented a focus topic each month. Information used to develop these calendars has also been used to develop content in this section of the website. The 2003 Calendar was produced by Landcare's Sustainable Strzelecki Agriculture (SSA) project in association with the Port Phillip and Westernport Catchment Management Authority.

Fertiliser Management

  • Phosphorus (P) was once believed to be transported only when attached to soil particles. Research has since found that phosphorus can be transported whilst dissolved in water. In Southern Australia the majority of P moves in the dissolved form. Practices that reduce run-off also keep the P on farm for plant growth, and reduce losses into dams and waterways.
  • Avoid applying fertiliser from July to Sept when run-off is likely and soils may be waterlogged. Watch the seven-day weather forecast and apply when rain is not expected. Four days without run-off after P application - halves the fertiliser losses
  • Apply Phosphorus in summer (Feb-May) and take advantage of fertiliser discounts.
  • Obtain soil tests and use the results to apply only the fertiliser that the pasture and crop requires - this saves money and reduces the opportunity for run-off into dams and waterways. Reduce application where fertility is high and increase on lower fertility areas.

Photo: Work on the farm
Photo: Avoid fertilising in or around drainage lines, waterways, dams, wet areas or low productivity areas
  • Stock tend to camp on the top (urinating and defecating) of slopes resulting in higher nutrient levels - therefore concentrate on the slopes which are generally lower in fertility. If practical, fence the top and bottom of hills to control grazing and fertiliser applications.
    Other considerations
    • Blue-green algae blooms can occur in dams during the warmer months. Some forms are toxic. If a bloom is suspected avoid using the water, prevent stock access and get the water tested.
    • Map land classes based on soil types, eroded and erosion prone areas, wet/low spots, water bodies and other natural features. This will show areas of the farm that may require specific management such as erosion. You can use the same map for pasture/crop rotations, soil fertility.
    Avoid fertilising in or around drainage lines, waterways, dams, wet areas or low productivity areas (unless aiming to improve) - as you will not get returns for your investment.
    Photographs by: Rawdon Sthradher (Fine Focus Photography).

    Effluent Management

    Dairy Effluent

    A 100 cow herd each year produces effluent equivalent to that of a township of 1 000 people. The Biological Oxygen Demand (BOD) is 10 times greater and can do extreme damage to local waterways. By law, ensure that all dairy effluent remains on the farm and does not leave the farm boundary.
    • Dairy shed effluent can be a valuable fertiliser and soil conditioner. It is estimated that during one lactation a 100 cow herd deposits 80 kg Phosphorus (910 kg single super), 250 kg Nitrogen (540 kg Urea) and 270 kg Potassium (540 kg Potash) in the yards.
    • Approximately 8-10% of the daily effluent is deposited in the yard. A general rule of thumb to minimise nutrient overload, and soil structure and pasture damage, is to apply effluent to 4 ha for every 100 cows milked. If possible, rotate your effluent around different areas of the farm each year and spread over as large an area as possible/accessible.
    • Applying dairy effluent on pastures and crops can boost pasture growth by utilising the nutrients, organic matter and water in the effluent. However, the levels of nutrient in a storage pond are less than fresh dung and urine. Have your ponds tested to work out the levels and rates of application.
    • Do not graze areas where effluent has been applied for at least 2 weeks in the summer and at least 3 weeks in winter if daily application must occur.
    • Apply effluent just after grazing when the pastures are low and weather is hot/dry. This ensures sunlight (UV radiation) and wind can penetrate to the soil surface to kill microbes.
    • Applying effluent just after grazing also means pastures will not need to be grazed until the next rotation (several weeks) - ensuring animal health considerations are addressed.
    • Do not allow young stock (under 12 months) to graze or have access to treated areas. Do not allow drains from treated areas to flow into areas with young stock. This is to help reduce the risk of infections especially from Johnes, as young stock have not yet built up immunity to cope with such diseases.
    • Consider applying effluent to the lower fertility paddocks, in order to boost organic matter and nutrients.
    • Consider recycling your effluent for yard wash-down to minimise the amount of freshwater entering the system.
    • Crusting of effluent ponds is generally an indication that the pond is overloaded and too small for your system. The bacteria can not keep up with the effluent coming in and can not breakdown the sludge. Your local effluent officer can work out the size of the system you require.

    Pasture Management

    • To maximise pasture growth and maintain a thick ground cover, graze pastures down to a minimum of 3-4 cm and allow them to grow to a height of approximately 15 cm (three leaf stage). Small paddocks and a rotational grazing plan will help achieve this.

    • Where possible avoid grazing the same area for more than 2-3 days. Animals re graze the new shoots and leaves, which have grown from water-soluble carbohydrate reserves, and this severely reduces regrowth and jeopardises survival of the plants. In larger paddocks, as cows are offered a block of pasture, a back fence/strip grazing should be used to prevent them re grazing the previous area.
    • Fencing the tops and bottoms of hills allows easier management of the slopes. It helps control grazing (over and under) as cattle do not walk up and down the hill as much. This also helps control pugging, erosion and nutrient transfer.
    • Preferably graze south-facing slopes in summer as they are more protected from the elements (sun and drying winds) and have a better pasture cover. Graze north-facing slopes in winter as they are warmer, soils dry quicker, and they have better grass growth.
    Photo: Pasture Management
    • Preferably graze south-facing slopes in summer as they are more protected from the elements (sun and drying winds) and have a better pasture cover. Graze north-facing slopes in winter as they are warmer, soils dry quicker, and they have better grass growth.
    • Steep slopes are often difficult to access - control weeds and vermin and manage pasture. They may also be susceptible to erosion. Decide whether it is practical to include these areas in a normal grazing rotation - use them for lighter grazing, non-milking stock or perhaps for revegetation.
    • When establishing pastures, light frequent grazing is necessary to stop grasses from smothering clovers, to keep weeds in check and to encourage the pasture to form a dense ground cover. Grazing can start once seedlings are able to resist being pulled out (preferably graze at 12-15 cm down to 5 cm) by the grazing animals (light-footed stock preferred) and the soil is firm enough to support them.
    Photo: Cow amongst good coverage of pasture
    Aim to maintain good pasture cover for feed and soil protection. Photographs by: Rawdon Sthradher (Fine Focus Photography).
    Other considerations
    • Identify low production areas. These can have large soil/water/nutrient losses. Identify why poor and aim to improve (build up soil structure and fertility - may need to temporarily remove stock) or retire area ie revegetate.
    • Apply Nitrogen in Autumn to build up a good feed wedge for winter – maximising growth and ground cover will aid in preventing soil damage.

    Winter Grazing

    • Consider using on-off grazing in wet conditions. This system minimises pugging damage to pasture by decreasing the time cows spend grazing on a pasture. Cows tend to graze actively for about 2-3 hrs then sit down, then walk around browsing. On-off grazing involves putting cows in a new paddock for 2-3 hrs and then removing them to a cow yard, section of track, feed pad or sacrifice paddock.
    • If planning to use a sacrifice paddock, the paddock for the next fodder crop may be a good choice.
    • Block/strip graze larger paddocks using a back fence to prevent cows from back grazing and causing further damage to the previous days pasture.
    Photo: Winter Grazing
    • Rectangular paddocks will aid in making strip grazing, mowing and moving cattle easier. If grazing strips are more squarish rather than rectangular, there will be less treading damage during wet periods. In long, narrow strips cows tend to walk up and down more looking for feed.
    Photo: A feedpad used for on-off grazing
    A feedpad used for on-off grazing. Photographs by: Rawdon Sthradher (Fine Focus Photography).

    • If large paddocks are grazed over 3-5 days cows will selectively graze the best pasture first, then walk and pug the remainder of the paddock in the following days. Allocating a daily allowance of pasture to the herd, cows will normally eat their allowance in the first few hours if enough pasture is available. If not, some supplementary feeding may be required. This ensures that the cows have fresh uncontaminated pasture for the next grazing and that damage to pasture and soil is reduced.
    • When feeding out hay, avoid rolling it down hills as this can lead to slipping and sliding damage from cattle hooves.

    • Where possible cultivate across the slope rather than down to reduce the speed of water run-off and encourage infiltration for plant growth.

    • Do not work up too much land ahead of actual planting, in order to avoid bare soil being exposed to erosion risks.

    • Cultivate when soils are slightly moist to avoid soil particle breakdown and creation of a plough layer/hard pan. Avoid cultivation or over-stocking when the soil is too moist (i.e. wetter than the plastic limit).
    • Some steep paddocks, although tractorable will have a high risk of soil erosion if cultivated regularly. Therefore identify these paddocks and only cultivate when it is necessary for renovation purposes, leaving flatter paddocks for the regular cropping rotation. Where possible, direct drill to renovate steeper paddocks.
    Photo: Cultivation
    Photo: Snow peas on a steep slope near the Bass River
    Snow peas on a steep slope near the Bass River. Steep slope and up and down cultivation increases the likelihood of soil and nutrient loss. Photos by: Rawdon Sthradher (Fine Focus Photography).
    • Try to leave a strip of pasture at intervals on slopping cultivated land to intercept run-off and break long slopes of continuous cultivation. Leave natural drainage lines grassed and consider sediment traps, diversion banks and semi permeable barriers such as straw bales and flood detention dams. Run-off should be diverted onto undisturbed areas and vegetation in order to trap sediment and encourage infiltration of water.
    • To help prevent loss with run-off, fertiliser can be incorporated into the soil when cultivating.

    Erosion Control

      • Regularly assess erosion-prone areas, as small areas cost less to repair compared to major outbreaks. In areas prone to tunnel erosion be particularly aware of small fans of silt appearing on slopes. These are often the first indication of tunnel erosion.
      • Maintaining ground cover (preferably over 70%) is the best insurance for erosion as it reduces surface water flow and its velocity (The faster the water moves, the less chance of infiltration and increased likelihood of topsoil loss)
      • Maintain vigorous perennial pastures and plant fast growing trees and other vegetation in on and above erosion areas (i.e. gullies, drainage lines, slips) to help reduce excess water in the soil.
    Photo: Examples of Erosion
    • Planting out an eroded area may result in the small loss of land (usually unproductive anyway if eroding) in the short term but will save a larger area for the future. Eroding land takes with it valuable topsoil and nutrients. Pasture around the area may improve with the tree planting and be more productive than the land lost.
    • If undertaking erosion control and revegetation works, fence the area to protect the gully from stock until restoration is complete. Lightly graze for the first 2-3 years to allow the pasture to develop and produce a strong root system which will bind the soil together and maximise water use.

    Photo: A tunnel erosion site that has been fenced and re-vegetated.
    A tunnel erosion site that has been fenced and re-vegetated. Photographs by: Rawdon Sthradher (Fine Focus Photography).
    • Soil creep or terracing (often mistaken for stock tracks across a hill face) is another form or mass movement. As terracing only occurs on the steepest slopes, it is advisable to fence these into different land classes so that they can be managed separately

    • Do not fill eroded gullies with solid objects such as old drums, car bodies or concrete. This only creates further erosion by directing water around the objects and removing even more soil.

    Farm Access

    Laneways should not be raceways. Straight laneways promote ease of cow flow and are attractive as well as being easy to fence, construct and maintain. Despite this, the lay of the land will be the determinant in laneway configuration. Geometrically shaped layouts that avoid sharp corners, steep gradients, cuts and fills and drainage courses are preferred

    Construct laneways with an outsloping surface to encourage dispersed discharge of run-off rather than concentrating it in table drains for discharge at one site.

    If table drains are present, runoff from tracks should be diverted at regular intervals onto stable undisturbed grassed areas to trap sediment and encourage infiltration of water.

    A well-constructed laneway needs to have a well-formed foundation. Research the surface material that best suits the farm terrain and soil type.

    Surface material must form an impervious barrier to water and not be harmful to cows hooves. Avoid large stones as they get kicked out of the track and leave the surface susceptible to water and more damage (they can also damage hooves).

    Laneway access is recommended to all paddocks, otherwise grass is both wasted and damaged as cows walk across it to get to another paddock.

    Autumn is the best time for laneway maintenance. It is recommended that the surface of the tracks be scraped to remove loose material and manure to promote drainage. Any depressions or rills should be filled, and if necessary, the pavement should be repaired by placement of suitable material over areas of fill.

    Currently gates of approximately 4 meters are commonly used. This width, however, is too small for most herds, so double gateways (8 metres wide) or extended gates should be considered when installing gates.

    The sun rises in the east and sets in the west, passing overhead slightly to the north around mid-day. Winter shading of laneways reduces the prospect of drying through sunlight and wind action on the laneway surface. Plant trees on the eastern side where possible.

    Riparian Zones


    Riparian land is any land that is next to, or directly influences a body of water. It includes areas adjacent to creeks and rivers, gullies and dips which sometimes run water, wetlands or areas surrounding dams and lakes.

    • Walk along a creek during winter and see where the majority of water is entering waterways. It may be that most of the water follows drainage lines or low areas. If so, fence up (part or all) of the drainage line to slow the water prior to entering the riparian zone. This will allow it to filter through the drainage line and riparian zone instead of rushing straight past it.

    Photo: Riparian Zone
    • Where possible avoid direct stock access to a stream. If possible connect troughs to a permanent water supply such as a dam or reticulated water supply rather than from the stream. If necessary provide access points (e.g. concrete, gravel etc) in certain areas and fence the rest.
    • Benefits of well managed intact riparian zones include: shelter for stock and pasture; improved water quality; improved habitat & wildlife; decrease in insect pests; opportunities for agroforestry; decreased light for algae; recreational area; reduced stream bank erosion, improved aesthetic value. Anecdotal evidence indicates that good riparian zones can increase property value by 10%.
    • Retain and improve existing frontage vegetation. Grow vegetation on the bank itself (smaller trees near the bottom) to aid in stabilising it, and providing shade shelter for aquatic life in the water.

    • Allow snags to remain in streams to provide habitat.

    • Riparian vegetation should include indigenous grasses, reeds and shrubs as well as trees.

    • Riparian vegetation will also provide stock and surrounding pastures with shelter. This may improve production and sustainability of the surrounding land.

    • If a crown frontage lease applies, then reduced rentals are available if ungrazed.
      Photo: A healthy riparian zone with a good mix of species and qquatic vegetation
      A healthy riparian zone with a good mix of species
      and quatic vegetation.
      Photographs by: Rawdon Sthradher (Fine Focus Photography)

      Waterlogged pastures in winter and spring are a common occurrence on many farms in Southern Victoria. Some soils can not drain excess rainfall and become saturated. Waterlogging reduces soil strength, making it vulnerable to pugging and other damage when grazed and plants suffer due to lack of oxygen for root respiration.

      There are two basic ways to overcome wet soils:
      i). improve soil drainage so the removal of excess water is expedited (e.g. surface and sub-surface drainage).
      ii). avoid intensive grazing of paddocks when wet as pugging damage is more likely to occur – try on-off grazing, feedpads, stand off areas.

      The best time for farmers to assess the cause of their waterlogging problem, and therefore which drainage system is likely to be the most suitable, is when the soil is saturated (i.e. winter – early spring).

      Depending on the severity of wet soils (i.e. length of time affected, % of farm affected, and how often it occurs) will help decide what option is needed on the farm. If it is a significant problem then consider drainage improvement together with on-off grazing.

      Even if prolonged wet periods do not occur, it is still highly desirable to adopt an on-off grazing strategy to reduce pasture damage caused by pugging compaction during wet periods.

      A trial showed that by November sub-surface drained pastures had much better pasture composition and density. Drained plots had double perennial ryegrass content, eight times the white clover content and a third of winter grass content than the comparable un-drained treatment.

      Many landholders may be unsure of their soil types and what type of drainage method is best suited to their soil. It is important to select the most appropriate method based on soil characteristics. Mole drains, for example, will not be effective on permeable soils. Mole drains are designed for impermeable (i.e. high clay content) soils. Pipe drains will work on both permeable and impermeable soils, but on impermeable soils they need to be spaced so close together that they may become uneconomical.

      Mole drains are unlined channels formed in a clay subsoil using a ripper blade with a cylindrical foot. They are used when natural drainage needs improving due to lack of slope or when a heavy clay subsoil prevents downward drainage.

      Humps and hollows are useful in areas or on soil types that are not suitable for tile or mole drainage. They are also useful where the lack of suitable outfalls prohibit the use of tile drains, usually due to insufficient depth or fall.

      An experienced drainage contractor can be most helpful in developing a plan of works. It should ideally cover 3-5 years of works.

      ‘Hump and hollowing’ is the practice of forming the ground surface into parallel convex surfaces separated by hollows. The humped shape sheds excess moisture relatively quickly while the hollows act as shallow surface drains.

      Landcare Notes on the DEPI website

      Farm drainage

      Managing wet soils: case study of stand-off areas

      Managing wet soils: case study of subsurface drainage (1)

      Managing wet soils: case study of subsurface drainage (2)

      Managing wet soils: feedpads and stand-off areas

      Managing wet soils: grazing techniques

      Managing wet soils: mole drainage

      Managing wet soils: On-off grazing

      Managing wet soils: Subsurface pipe drainage

      Managing wet soils: renovation of damaged pastures and soils

      Managing wet soils: surface drainage

      Managing wet soils: what are your best options?

      Managing wet soils: what off-paddock system?

      Managing wet soils: Types of subsurface drainage?

      Whole Farm Planning
      • It is important to carefully plan changes on the farm before implementing them. The development of a land management or whole farm plan is an ideal way to identify issues, set priorities and plan how to address them on the farm.
      • Many factors are combined in the planning of farm management and future developments including: paddock subdivision, access, crops, shelter, water supply, habitat, pest/weed control, fire protection, livestock needs, soil conservation, land degradation, water quality, labour, etc.
      • To prepare a whole farm plan an accurate scale map or aerial photo of the property is required. Aerial photos of most areas are taken regularly, contact your local DEPI office for details.
      • The mapping and planning process involves three plastic overlays (overlaying the photo). The first overlay records natural features of the land such as soil types, eroded and erosion prone areas, wet/low spots and waterbodies. The second overlay is based on the ideal layout (such as smaller paddocks, new laneways and extra trees). The third overlay includes the existing features such as laneways, fences and houses.
      • Look at the overlays and see how the existing features can work towards achieving the “ideal” farm. For example, adjustments may be able to be made to existing fencing that will save money, as well as improving management and reducing time involved in moving stock.
      • A whole farm plan does not need to ever finish – it can be regularly reviewed and updated.
      • Once you have your photo, a great option is to do a WFP course. The advantages of these courses are they: a) give access to experts and information in particular fields (ie. erosion, subdivisions). b) encourage discussion and interchange of ideas between farmers, and c) ensure that the plan is largely complete. Courses usually run in the evening - contact your local DEPI, Landcare or TAFE for further information.

      Biodiversity on Farms

      An increasing number of studies are showing the benefits of wildlife and remnant vegetation.

      These are examples of some of the findings from these studies:
      • Between 40-60% of crows and ravens diet consists of insects including pasture cockchafers.
      • Sugar gliders eat massive amounts of insects. Where enough winter food (mainly from wattles) is available, they will eat up to 18 000 scarab beetles per hectare per season. These insects may be tree defoliators, and their larvae pasture root eaters.
      • Owls, hawks and eagles help control animal pests such as mice, rats, hares and rabbits.
      • A study suggests that in healthy eucalypt woodlands, birds eat about half of the insects produced annually.
      • Sheltered pastures lose 12 mm of water less than open pastures during the spring growing season.
      • Sheltered areas have increases up to 17% (estimated) in dairy milk production and 20% (estimated) in average annual pasture growth for meat producers.
      • On a day of 27C, unsheltered cows will produce 26% less dairy milk than shaded stock.
      • Planting local trees, shrubs and groundcovers, rather than exotics or plants from other regions, provides food, shelter and nesting material for local wildlife. Using local plants also maximises the chance of restoring plant-animal interactions such as pollination and seed dispersal.

      • Insectivorous birds including honeyeaters, consume about 24-38 kg of insects per hectare per year in Eucalypt woodlands.

      • There are clear advantages in reducing pasture and soil damage: better pasture utilisation, increased pasture regrowth and improved animal welfare leading to increased production and fewer costs associated with pasture renovation. There are a number of options available if animals are to be taken off paddocks.
      • A dairy feedpad is a confined yarded area that provides adequate water, space, feeding facilities and an effective effluent removal system. Stock can be held in the area for varying lengths of time. To reduce pasture damage, stock can be fed and held on the pad for a few hours each day or longer depending on the weather.
      • Dairy feedpads are used throughout Australia to feed stock in times of pasture shortage, reduce the adverse effects of stock on pastures in wet weather, reduce pasture renovation costs and help adjust milk characteristics throughout controlled feeding. They are also used to facilitate higher stocking rates on farms of limited size.
      • Avoid feedpads being situated adjacent to creeks or drainage lines to reduce risk of soil and nutrient movement to these waterways.
      • You will need to consider enlarging your effluent system to cope with the additional loading from the feedpad. If possible have a separate effluent system for the feedpad areas, if not have some form of solids separation prior to entering the existing effluent system. Store over winter months to avoid run-off and reuse over pasture or crops.
      • There are many types of feedpads that suit most situations and budgets. Many farmers have developed their own innovative feedpads by utilising or expanding existing infrastructure on the farm.
      • Look around for ideas and don’t be afraid to ask questions and visit farms with systems that may suit your farm. Planning is very important.
      • A feedpad becomes a permanent asset and can be used for the whole year. It can also be used for other activities such as calving, drafting, vet checking and as shade/shelter during adverse weather conditions.

      Trees on Farms

      Establishing Trees on Farms

      • Trees have multiple benefits: they help bind the soil; protect soil and pastures from wind (increase pasture growth by warmer microclimate); increase stock production, encourage wildlife; attract birds which eat pasture pests; reduce erosion; improve waterlogged areas; improve aesthetic values, and can improve the resale value of land.

      • Planting trees may improve surrounding pasture and reduce stock stress, therefore improving production. So losing areas that are often not productive (e.g. drainage lines) can actually improve productivity rather than reduce it.

      • When planting, use native trees, shrubs and ground cover to maximise the soil protection and suppress weeds. Mixed plantings establish better and allow wind to pass through - creating less turbulence (than solid windbreaks) and providing more protection to stock and pastures.
      • When planting trees - look for areas that provide multiple benefits - for example, shelter-belts can slow run-off and create wildlife corridors.
      Photo: Woman planting a tree

      Photo: Trees on Farms
      • To help your local supplier provide the most appropriate plants for your farm, define what you want the trees for (i.e. erosion control, shelter, revegetation, agroforestry, wildlife corridor) and what area they are intended for (e.g. wet, shaded, low fertility or eroded areas).
      Other considerations
      • If you have a tree planting project in mind for spring, order trees 6 months in advance to get the species desired.

      Wet Areas on Farms

      During wet times there will always be some run-off and the development of saturated areas around the property is likely to occur. Some parts of the landscape are generally wetter than others.
      • There are number of options for wet areas on the farm: If you want to graze, options include: temporarily fencing and grazing only when dry, and sub-surface or surface drainage. If the area is unproductive consider wetlands, revegetation or permanently fencing. Consider benefits of each and what suits your situation.
      • Consider temporarily fencing off wet areas with portable electric fences during particularly wet times. Doing so protects the pasture roots and reduces the likelihood of soil compaction and pugging, both of which will cause a long term decline in pasture productivity, and is also likely to improve the amount of run-off and water quality. Graze again in dry times.
      Photo: Wet areas on Farms
      • Identify the main drainage lines on your farm as a separate land class in which vegetation needs to be retained and soil protected. Avoid cultivating these areas.
      • Avoid straightening of drainage lines (through cleaning out). A straight channel has a higher velocity as it picks up speed down the slope. This will increase the potential for gully erosion and decrease infiltration to surrounding vegetation. Maintain vegetation in drainage lines – consider pasture or native trees/shrubs/understorey.
      Photo: A wet area developed into a farm dam
      A wet area developed into a farm dam. Note the islands which provide wildlife habitat.
      • Wetlands can provide additional benefits to farms such as: erosion control; farm water supply; shelter (pasture stock); reducing nutrient/sediments; providing habitat for beneficial birds/insects; recreation (fishing etc) and aesthetic value.
      • Divert surface water and water from soaks away from slip prone slopes to well vegetated areas using diversion banks or drains. Where soil is easily eroded, agricultural or polythene pipes may be needed to safely transport water from the site.
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