Tropical Grasslands (1992) Volume 26, 196–205

Sustainable pasture systems in the humid tropics of Queensland


Queensland Department of Primary Industries, South Johnstone, Queensland, Australia


Research and development of improved pasture technology for the humid tropical coast of Queensland has resulted in the successful development, maintenance and regeneration of large areas of commercial pastures, many of which are now over 20 years old. Weeds have been controlled, a good balance of desirable pasture species has been maintained and large numbers of high quality fat cattle are being turned off. These demonstrations of sustainable high production are contrary to most experience with pastures in the humid tropics.
The major objectives of the R & D program were: firstly, to find means of halting or reversing the decline in productivity which followed pasture development on rainforest lands; and secondly, to find productive pasture systems for infertile open forest lands where sown pastures had failed completely.
Priority was given to research programs on (a) the selection of suitable legumes and grasses, (b) the assessment of soil nutritional problems, and (c) control of weeds and timber regrowth. Information from these studies was synthesised into a range of commercial management packages. Field studies of management alternatives indicated that high levels of sustainable production were possible. Results were subjected to further analyses in a computer modelling program aimed at assisting decisions on the most desirable of the management options for individual farms.

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