27 Mar 2012

Farmers still slow to renew pasture - report

3:00 pm on 27 March 2012

A new report says the farmgate value of dairy, sheep and beef products has grown by almost 60% in five years, to more than $16 billion last season.

But it says farmers could add another $3 billion a year to that by putting more effort into renewing their pastures.

The analysis by Business and Economic Research Limited (BERL) was commissioned by the Pasture Renewal Trust, which was formed to promote the benefits of pasture improvement.

The report updates an analysis that BERL did for the trust three years ago.

BERL director Kel Sanderson says apart from dairy farms, there has been no indication farmers have increased the level of pasture renewal.

He says sheep and beef farms about renew about 2% of their pasture each year, while dairy renews 6% - a slight increase on the previous year.

He says in the case of dairy, that translates into renewing a pasture every 16 years.

Pasture Renewal Trust chair Murray Willocks says while the level of investment in new pasture remains low, there is a greater awareness now about the value of pasture.