Livestock grazing behaviour in large Mallee paddocks


Research organisaton
Funding sources

Trial details

Researcher(s) Zac Economou (MSF)
Alison Frischke (UNE)
Michael Moodie (MSF)
James Murray (BCG)
Mark Trotter (UNE)
Year(s) 2015
Contributor Mallee Sustainable Farming Inc.
Trial location(s) Nandaly, VIC
Livestock grazing behaviour in large Mallee paddocks locations

The integration of cropping and grazing remains a major management challenge in the Mallee. Technology such as portable fencing systems and virtual fencing potentially offer a solution to improve grazing management in large Mallee paddocks with high soil variability. However, to effectively design and deploy these innovative grazing techniques, the grazing behaviour of livestock in these paddocks needs to be understood and quantified.

Key messages
  • For the first time sheep grazing behaviour in a Mallee paddock was monitored and mapped using GPS tracking collars.
  • Sheep grazed the entire stubble paddock as they sought out spilt grain during the summer fallow, but they preferred to graze on sandy soil types first.
  • While grazing a vetch pasture in the same paddock, livestock spent 50% of the time grazing only 25% of the paddock and 25% of the paddock was not utilised. (iv) At least $4000 profit was foregone from the paddock through the under-utilisation of the vetch pasture.
  • Within-paddock fencing technology in large Mallee paddocks has the potential to capture this potential profit by improving feed utilisation.
Lead research organisation N/A
Host research organisation N/A
Trial funding source GRDC
Trial funding source NLP
Trial funding source Mallee CMA
Related program Australian Government’s National Landcare Programme

This project is supported by the Mallee Catchment Management Authority, Mallee Sustainable Farming, University of New England and BCG through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Programme. GRDC funded Grain & Graze 3 provided additional support.

Other trial partners Birchip Cropping Group, University of New England
Download the trial report to view additional trial information


Crop type Barley
Treatment type(s)
  • Grazing: Timing
Trial type Experimental
Trial design Replicated

Nandaly 2015

Sow date Not specified
Harvest date Not specified
Plot size Not specified
Plot replication Not specified
Download the trial report to view additional method/treatment information
Trial source data and summary not available
Check the trial report PDF for trial results.
Observed trial site soil information
Trial site soil testing
Not specified
Soil conditions
Trial site Soil texture
Nandaly, VIC Not specified
Derived trial site soil information
Australian Soil Classification Source: ASRIS
Trial site Soil order
Nandaly, VIC 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 Nandaly VIC
2015 233.4mm
2014 262.0mm
2013 278.1mm
2012 303.9mm
2011 355.5mm
2010 321.3mm
2009 250.6mm
2008 258.9mm
2007 275.2mm
2006 261.2mm
2005 304.1mm
2004 262.3mm
2003 293.2mm
2002 234.9mm
2001 303.4mm
2000 282.4mm
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



Derived climate information

No observed climate data available for this trial.
Derived climate data is determined from trial site location and national weather sources.

Nandaly VIC


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: 25-06-2019 10:03am AEST