Grain & Graze 3 - The impact of livestock on paddock health


Research organisatons
Funding source

Trial details


To test whether soil fertility and health could be improved under a higher input system (e.g. higher fertiliser and seeding rates, establishment of improved pasture) compared to a lower input and more traditional system (district practice seed and fertiliser inputs, volunteer pasture).

The six year (2008-2013) rotation of: wheat, wheat, pasture (volunteer and sown annual medic), wheat, pasture (annual medic – self regenerating) and wheat, was also split into grazed and un-grazed treatments in both the high and low input systems to establish the relative impact of grazing.

Key messages
  • There has been no measured grain production or soil health decline associated with grazing sheep on pastures and crop stubbles over a 4 year pasture-wheat rotation. Grain yields were higher as a result of increased wheat seed and fertiliser rates in 2013.
  • Higher applied crop seed and fertiliser rates with an improved medic pasture increased estimated gross margins by $16/ha/annum over a 6 year wheat-wheat-pasture-wheat-pasture-wheat rotation
Lead research organisation Southern Farming Systems
Host research organisation SARDI Minnipa Agricultural Centre
Trial funding source GRDC SFS00028
Related program Grain & Graze 3

We gratefully acknowledge the help of Mark Klante and Brett McEvoy for site management and Ian Richter and Wade Shepperd for data collection.

Other trial partners EP, BCG, MSF, Ag Excellence Alliance
Download the trial report to view additional trial information


Crop type Wheat
Treatment type(s)
  • Fertiliser: Rate
  • Grazing: Regime
  • Sowing: Rate
Trial type Experimental
Trial design Replicated

Minnipa Agricultural Centre 2013

Sow rate or Target density 50kg/ha
Sow date 5 May 2013
Harvest date 4 November 2013
Plot size 350m x 100m
Plot replication 1

7 kg N/ha and 8 kg P/ha (45 kg/ha DAP) and 70 kg/ha with 13 kg N/ha and 15 kg P/ha (75 kg/ha DAP) for the traditional (low) and high input treatments respectively.


Weed control was imposed on all treatments as required in both summer and during the growing season.

Download the trial report to view additional method/treatment information

Download results

Trial results Table 1

# Variety
Treatment 1
Colwell phosphorus (mg/kg) Water use efficiency (kg/ha/mm) Establishment plants (plants/m2) Protein (%) Grain yield (t/ha) Soil N (mg/kg) Dry matter (t/ha) Organic carbon (%) Screenings (%)
1 Wheat:Mace Low input - grazed 34 15 127 10.3 1.9 111 5.3 1.3 5.6
2 Wheat:Mace Low input - un-grazed 27 14 124 10.3 1.8 84 5.4 1.2 4.7
3 Wheat:Mace High input - grazed 18 16 175 11.2 2.1 118 6.3 1.2 6.3
4 Wheat:Mace High input - un-grazed 22 16 158 10.8 2.1 74 6.1 1.1 5.6

Grain yield t/ha


Colwell phosphorus mg/kg


Dry matter t/ha


Establishment plants plants/m2


Organic carbon %


Protein %


Screenings %


Soil N mg/kg


Water use efficiency kg/ha/mm

Observed trial site soil information
Trial site soil testing
Not specified
Soil conditions
Trial site Soil texture
Minnipa Agricultural Centre, SA Red sandy loam
Derived trial site soil information
Australian Soil Classification Source: ASRIS
Trial site Soil order
Minnipa Agricultural Centre, SA Calcarosol
Soil Moisture Source: BOM/ANU
Average amount of water stored in the soil profile during the year, estimated by the OzWALD model-data fusion system.
Year Minnipa Agricultural Centre SA
2013 476.4mm
2012 520.3mm
2011 558.1mm
2010 543.4mm
2009 534.2mm
2008 442.9mm
2007 440.4mm
2006 473.1mm
2005 447.8mm
2004 447.2mm
2003 462.9mm
2002 460.3mm
2001 504.3mm
2000 501.8mm
National soil grid Source: CSIRO/TERN
NOTE: National Soil Grid data is aggregated information for background information on the wider area
Actual soil values can vary significantly in a small area and the trial soil tests are the most relevant data where available

Soil properties



Minnipa Agricultural Centre SA 2013

Observed climate information

Rainfall trial gsr (mm) 237mm

Derived climate information

Minnipa Agricultural Centre SA


Some data on this site is sourced from the Bureau of Meteorology

SILO weather estimates sourced from
Jeffrey, S.J., Carter, J.O., Moodie, K.B. and Beswick, A.R. (2001). Using spatial interpolation to construct a comprehensive archive of Australian climate data , Environmental Modelling and Software, Vol 16/4, pp 309-330. DOI: 10.1016/S1364-8152(01)00008-1.

Trial last modified: 08-10-2019 11:43am AEST