Pastures & vegetation

By , November 18, 2009 1:29 am

Two hundred years ago the native pastures were predominately Red grass (Bothriocloa macra), Kangaroo grass (Themeda australis) and Tussocky poa (Poa labillardierei). Old cheque butt entries and invoices from the early 1920’s show that D.W.T. Gordon was buying considerable amounts of grass and clover seed and superphosphate. It is assumed that pasture improvement was happening even then. The 1950’s saw the advent of aerial top-dressing and the introduction by CSIRO of myxomatosis to control rabbits. Under DWT’s son the practise of “Super and sub” commenced in earnest. At the same time he introduced the concept of “Rabbit-Free” areas. This was a coordinated effort by landholders of the then Bathurst Pastures Protection board (PP Board) to systematically eradicate rabbit harbour, such as blackberries and burrows. On Godolphin, the native pastures were ploughed up and replaced with the legumes subterraneum clover, plus red, white and strawberry clovers, and the grasses Phalaris australis and Cocksfoot (Dactylus glomerata). Stock carrying capacity increased fourfold. The pastures today are dominated by Phalaris and sub-clover. This high producing combination needs liberal amounts of water and superphosphate to keep it thriving… both commodities of which are increasingly scarce and expensive.

Changes to the PP Board system over recent years and the success of myxo has led to a revival of the rabbit population in the region which is barely controlled by “Myxo”  and the relatively in-effective (in the tableland regions at least) calici virus that “escaped” from Phillip Island in the mid 1990’s while still being being tested as a biological control agent.

Declining stands of Euclayptus melliodora (Yellow box), E. tereticornis (Red gum), E. bridgesiana (Apple box) and E. viminalis (Ribbon gum) have been supplemented by introduced plantings of other Euclayptus species, Elms, Oaks and Poplars. Weeping Willows planted along the creekside in the 1940’s-1950’s are now considered a pest by many authorities.

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