The Rangeland Journal The Rangeland Journal Society
Rangeland ecology and management

General effects of management and grazing by domestic livestock on the rangelands of the Northern Tablelands of New South Wales.

RDB Whalley, GG Robinson and JA Taylor

The Australian Rangeland Journal 1(2) 174 - 190
Published: 1978


Three major pasture types probably occurred on the Northern Tablelands prior to European settlement. The dominants were probably Poa sieberana Spreng. and Themeda australis (R.Br.1 Stapf. at the higher elevations, T. australis, P. Sieberana and Sorghum leiocladum (Hack.) C.E. Hubbard on fine textured soils at lower elevations and T. australis, Aristida ramosa (R.Br.) and Cymbopogon refractus (R.Br.1 A. Camus. on coarse textured soils. The subsidiary species composition of these pasture types is also suggested, derived from fragmentary early accounts, earlier published work and observations on the behaviour under grazing of the different species involved. The characteristics of the important native and naturalised grass species are described. These species are classified into warm season perennials, warm season annuals, cool season perennials and cool season annuals. The native warm season perennials is the largest group of species at present on the Tablelands. The effects of grazing on the species composition of natural pastures is described. The grazing behaviour of merino sheep leads to a striking zonation of herbaceous species resulting from uneven grazing intensity and distribution of dung and urine. Data from an unreplicated stocking rate by superphosphate application rate trial at Shannon Vale are presented. This trial indicated that the proportion of white clover in the pasture depended on both stocking rate and superphosphate rate and that the proportion of Danthonia spp. increased when white clover decreased. Wool production data are also presented which show that high levels of pro- ductivity per hectare can be obtained from topdressed natural pastures. A number of different natural pasture types occur on the Tablelands. A schemeis presented showing the interrelationship$ between the original and the present pasture types as affected by grazing intensity and the addition or depletion of plant nutrients.

© ARS 1978

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