Sowing improved species of clovers or grasses or more winter active cultivars will increase seasonal and total pasture growth. This option also represents a large capital cost of $150-300/ha depending on inputs required. Sowing pasture can be profitable but certain criteria needs to be met to guarantee this. The criteria are:
- Contain the capital costs of establishment - Get it right the first time. This requires careful planning and preparation at least 12 months before sowing. Choice of species and cultivars suited to your climate and soil types is critical. The Grassland Society of Southern Australia has a data base of currently available pasture cultivars and the conditions to which they are suited.
- Ensure the pasture persists - The shorter the life of the pasture, the shorter the time you have to get your money back. Your fertiliser and grazing management will affect how long a perennial pasture persists.
- Increase stocking rate - How many extra stock you need to run will depend on the two factors above. The shorter the pasture's life the higher the stocking rate or the higher the enterprise gross margin $/ha needs to be to get your money back. Sowing short-term pastures (eg. Italian ryegrass) or fodder crops will not be profitable if significant lifts in stocking rate cannot be achieved or if they cannot provide the feed at a lower cost than other supplements like grain.