Pasture Trials Network gets $3.8m funding to boost farmers’ returns

Sheep Central, August 9, 2023

Pasture Trials Network executive officer Tony Butler.

THE Pasture Trials Network will use $3.8 million in funding from the Meat & Livestock Australia Donor Company to expand and help some farmers close an estimated $200/hectare annual deficit in returns with better varieties.

PTN executive officer Tony Butler said the network is starting to look at how it can deliver even more value to end users making pasture decisions.

“We have expanded our trial locations to cover an expanding area in South Australia, New South Wales, and south-east Queensland.“

“Then, from 2024 we will look to expand even further,” he said.

“This means the Pasture Trials Network will have more data and more relevant data for more people looking to compare and find the best-performing pasture product for where they operate.”

The Pasture Trials Network is funded by participating seed companies in partnership with MLA, the Australian Government (through the MLA Donor company) and Dairy Australia.

MLA feedbase program manager Dr Allan Peake brokered the new partnership and said producers in medium and high rainfall zones often sow improved pasture species to increase their productivity.

“The problem is that some producers are missing out by up to $200 per hectare per year because they are not choosing the best varieties.

“So we’re aiming to expand the PTN and help more producers make better decisions about which sown pasture varieties to use,” he said.

Mr Butler said the network is excited to have secured funding from the MLA Donor Company for the next five years.

“With the joint funding from DA and the support of pasture seed companies, we can really set a solid strategic direction and grow the program into the future.

“This certainty in funding and industry support shows confidence in the program and allows the PTN to look at how we can develop new ways of delivering and presenting data that can be of most value to the end user,” he said.

Currently, there are over 10 years’ worth of trial data that can be compared using the PTN e-tool on the Meat and Livestock website. This data covers most temperate regions of Australia and most temperate pasture products available from pasture seed companies in Australia.

Mr Butler said there is so much valuable data currently available on the PTN e-tool.

“But we aren’t stopping there.

“We will be re-developing our Pasture Trials website, creating a central hub for all things PTN,” he said.

“The Pasture Trials Network has been working hard for ten years, and our focus right now is sharing the work to-date, spreading the word that you can make smarter pasture variety choices using the data available.

“Having relevant and timely information, easily available, allows people to make the best decisions,” Mr Butler said.


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  1. Peter Small, August 9, 2023

    To have a productive healthy plant first you must invest in the soil. Activating depleted soil biological activity is the key. Focus on soil microbes; that’s the place to start.
    But who is funding this key ingredient of successful animal production? Tell me someone please?
    Not forgetting healthy plants = healthy animals = healthy people. But the chemical companies want the whole chain; soils, plants, animals and people to be a little bit sick.

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