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#grassgate - a thread on importance of native grasses from an article I wrote for Town & Country Farmer:
Years ago, my partner and I bought a farm near Mansfield, Vic. BECAUSE of its native grasses: Microlaena stipoides, Austrodanthonia spp., Themeda Triandra & Bothriochloa macra
The facts on the loss of our biodiversity in Australia are alarming. In the last 30 years, we have cleared millions of hectares of native vegetation in Australia. Victoria has lost 3/4 of its wetlands and less than 2% of Australia’s native grasslands remain undisturbed.
Preserving remnant native veg is one way of preserving biodiversity. Also helps maintain diversity of plants & wildlife which, in turn, encourages a wide variety of bird species to help control insects, thus, economic benefits for farmers. Here's why:
REDUCE WEED INFEST. - where native grasses dominant
CARE FOR LAND - the tussocky nature of native grasses reduces evaporation and deep roots reduce soil erosion
SUMMER PASTURE - being perennial, respond to heavy rain, providing “green pick” after annual grasses dry off.
SALT TOLERANT (some species)
good companion plants to SUB-CLOVERS
FIRE RESISTANT (low fuel load in summer)
ACID SOIL tolerant
MINIMAL MANAGEMENT - no fertilisers needed
SHELTER FOR YOUNG LIVESTOCK - provided by tussocks
The other good news about native grasses is that they don’t need phosphorous fertilisers or at least as much as the exotic species. We know that phosphorous is the main culprit for the growth of freshwater blue-green algae which led to the Murray Darling disaster.
Agriculture Victoria calls native grasses “The Hidden Asset”. When we had our farm, Pinjarra, our native grasses saved us many thousands of dollars in costly fertilisation and soil cultivation as well as thousands of man hours by not having to maintain “improved” pasture.
Funny how the ever-lucky Taylors with their Landcare grants not only get off with being environmental vandals but are helped by key player in the Coalition's Game of Mates, anti-enviro Minister @Joshfrydenberg. @MsVeruca, @Jommy_Tee, @AngusTaylorMP #auspol, #grassgate
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