Friday, September 16, 2016

Establishing a New Turf Area - What About the Weather - Australia 2016?

For those along the east and south east coast [even as far west as Adelaide] it has been a resurgence of cooler weather in mid September.  While many might have been thinking about preparing a new area for seed or turf sod, it is a bit of a setback - more cool, wet and poor sunshine weather for September.

But looking at longer term averages it does seem to indicate that October is about the earliest safe time to get motivated to develop your new summer growing turf area in much of the east and south east of Australia.

Planting too early can be a total disaster - with low temperatures meaning slow, uneven, poor germination and emergence as seed reacts to the tough conditions with slow and irregular development and growth.  Also relevant is the amount of cloudy conditions providing inadequate sunshine for decent seedling growth.  These struggling seedlings can then be exposed to plant diseases and is a failure, as seedlings die.

Prudence dictates.........wait a little longer into October.

As an example, [ using data from Essendon]

September - mean min temp - 6.7C  and mean max temp - 16.8C
October  - mean min temp - 8.3C and mean max temp - 19.3C.

More recently, daily weather data for Melbourne for September is distinctly cooler than average-   - shows recent weather for Olympic Park in Melbourne clarifying that cool weather still is common in September 2016.

While Melbourne provides an example, checking BOM data for your location should help you to more effectively plan a successful planting.  Avoid being too early and suffering from poor weather! 

The other notable factor is the amount of sunshine with October much higher than September, with both daylength and solar energy higher in October, which normally boosts growth of seedlings.

It may also be prudent to delay fertiliser application, for a few weeks , with the high recent rainfall likely to cause leaching of nutrients.  Longer term weather forecasting seems to indicate more wet, cool,weather possible over the next few weeks.

While it is normal to expect weather to warm from September, the issue is that this year this is expected to be slower due to ongoing cool and damp weather, with lower insolation.

Outcome - be careful and keep a more vigilant watch on the weather and plan for any turf planting or turf seed sowing to be delayed until maybe mid October.  And be prepared for change.

We would like to sell clients zoysia seed to be ready for sowing - but do strongly urge zoysia seed users to carefully check both long term data averages, and recent monthly data to aid your decision making.  We want to see a successful seed sowing, and can help with data checking if concerned.  Our current view for much of temperate areas in Australia is - wait a few more weeks before sowing summer turf seed.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Cattle Methane Emissions in Australia - Lower Than We Thought!!

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Methane emissions from Australian cattle are 24% lower than previously estimated, according to data based on eight years of research into ways to reduce emissions in livestock. 

The new method has been published late in 2015 in the journal Animal Production Science and resulted in an update of the National Greenhouse Gas Inventory (NGGI).

CSIRO’s Ed Charmley said the work was conducted because of concerns about the large differential between NGGI and Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) methane emission figures for Australian cattle, as well as doubt surrounding the accuracy of previous calculation methodologies used for cattle — particularly northern Australian cattle.  “Different methods used to calculate emissions from livestock in temperate and tropical regions were based on studies done in the 1960s and 1990s, mainly with dairy cattle,” Dr Charmley said.  “Both of these past methods were found to be likely overestimating the emissions from cattle.”

Dr Charmley said the revised method is based on improved ways of estimating ruminant methane emissions from forage-fed beef and dairy cattle, and has been tested against international defaults provided by the IPCC. The method has also brought the NGGI in line with the estimates of the IPCC, much to the delight of Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA).

“This revelation clearly shows livestock-based emissions are nowhere near what they were thought to be and will help improve the accuracy of Australia’s national greenhouse gas emissions estimates,” said MLA General Manager, On-farm Innovation Dr Matthew McDonagh.  “This is positive news for the Australian livestock sector as it seeks to continually improve its production efficiencies and demonstrate its environmental credentials.”

MLA Manager, Sustainable Feedbase,  Tom Davison added that the latest research findings from the National Livestock Methane Program (NLMP) show there are a number of simple management measures producers can implement to substantially reduce methane emissions while increasing productivity.  “Some of these are as simple as integrating leucaena into grazing systems, improving growth rates or herd reproductive performance, while other future techniques may include feeding red-algae to livestock and have been prioritised for further research,” Dr Davison said.  

We look forward to continuing to make further gains in this field for the mutual benefit of both our livestock industries and environmental sustainability.”

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