Managing run country
Sometimes run country is seen only as an outlet for stock when improved pastures are under pressure or become overloaded – a kind of safety relief valve. But run country is actually a valuable resource in itself and deserves the same protection from stock pressure as other pastures.
More often, even greater grazing care is warranted to preserve the run pasture value that already exists, as well as the diversity and ecosystem value of native plant populations. This care is needed because runs are often present in more fragile parts of the landscape, where damage has more lasting consequence and recovery is far more challenging.
Run country provides resources for stock that can be an important part of the annual grazing plan. It offers shelter, can fill feed gaps, and can help manage the seasonal pressures on the whole pasture system. It’s an ecological resource that should be considered as part of a farm’s overall management plan.
Utilising run country to its full potential takes understanding of when your grasses flower and set seed, and grazing to suit the season and the species present. Runs dominated by native grasses offer drought resilience in tough times and better feed profiles across the seasons.
Well-managed, they can be a useful resource. Your efforts will be rewarded as run country offers great potential in the marketplace. Increasingly, properties seen to be managing all their resources effectively will gain a market advantage or point of distinction.