ABOUT ROSS WATSON

PASTURE IMPROVEMENT SPECIALISTS

Ross Watson Agriculture P/L is one of Australia’s leading independent providers of pasture agronomy advice.

Our point of difference is our extensive and independent technical agronomy knowledge, combined with our extensive “hands-on” field experience with all facets of pasture agronomy and management . We do “walk the talk” every day. We have over 30 years experience in agronomy consulting, which include all facets of pasture improvement. From paddock preparation, pasture establishment techniques such as conventional seedbeds, direct drilling and aerial spray-sow pastures, to pasture species selection,  soil nutrient and fertility management, fertiliser selection and programs, weed control, and grazing management.

We are the recognised specialists in pasture establishment, management and development programs. We are often engaged to help clients, both small and large, beef cattle, thoroughbred horses, dairy farms and mixed crop and livestock operations to develop detailed farm development programs which are appropriate for the various agricultural land classes throughout every farm.

Over the last 20 years Ross Watson Agriculture has been become recognised within the Australian Thoroughbred Industry as the leading equine pasture agronomist, consulting to all the major thoroughbred studs and being the agronomist responsible for the pasture redevelopment on many of the leading established studs as well as being engaged to design and implement the pasture and farm development of many new stud farms throughout Australia.

We pride ourselves on providing personalised, one on one, pasture agronomy advice to a full range of clients, such as lifestyle properties, broadacre primary producers, as well as large corporate clients throughout Australia as well as internationally. Key client service areas include, the Hunter Region, Northern, Central and Southern Tablelands and Slopes regions of NSW. We have been engaged to provide pasture agronomy advice for specific clients in Victoria , South Australia, King Island and South East Queensland.

We also consult to various government agencies, industry groups, farmer interest groups and corporate agribusinesses. We have also been regularly engaged to undertake independent research and development work in pasture species evaluation, fertiliser product evaluation and the development and evaluation of herbicide products for some of the Australia’s leading agribusiness’.

Our other services include, property assessment, farm planning, farm budgeting and benchmarking, legal support and expert opinions, research and development of agricultural products, working with government agencies on agricultural and land management issues.

We can also provide you with the full range of farm contracting services to establish and maintain your pastures.

We do “walk the talk” everyday !

Career Background.

Ross Watson commenced his agronomy consulting career in 1980, when his was appointed as the District Agronomist with NSW Agriculture at Scone , in the Upper Hunter Region of NSW. He quickly became recognised and respected by famers and the ag-industry for his knowledge and advisory skills in many areas of pasture and forage crop agronomy , farm development programs and  pasture / woody weed control. He excelled in his work developing new pasture establishment methods such as aerial-spray sow and direct drill pasture improvement programs. He authored many leading and popular extension and advisory publications, on pastures, fertiliser and weed control, while in the position as District Agronomist at Scone, many of which are still referenced and used today. In his service at Scone , Ross was the longest serving Agronomist ever to occupy that position , (which still stands), with 16 years of exceptional service until 1996. There is not many farms that he has not been on in the Upper Hunter. He loved his time in that position and had established a strong following within the farming community in this Region as well as central and Northern NSW.

In 1996 he formed Ross Watson Agriculture to service clients in the Upper Hunter as well as other areas of  NSW and Interstate. This was the first agronomy consulting business of its type in the Region at the time. Ross Watson Agriculture is a long standing and respected agronomy consulting business today.

Today he continues to offer that experienced, professional and independent pasture agronomy advice that producers have come to trust and admire.

He has always been “a leader in his field” and his company continues to deliver this level of service to his clients !

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19 hours ago

Ross Watson Agriculture

We're attending the Grasslands Conference of Southern Australia in Ballarat this week! Eager to listen, learn and contribute to this meeting of largest network of pasture agronomists from most of Southern Australia.
Wet and green from Gundagai to Ballarat. Looking forward to opportunity to meet and discuss pastures and forage production and management with other keen agronomists!
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This is just one of my favourite fertiliser trials, as it provides us with so many valuable lessons and "Take Home Messages"!!
This is one of around 15 pasture P+S fertiliser trials I have conducted throughout the Upper Hunter and one of around 80 other detailed pasture fertiliser trials , that we conducted in the 1990-1996 period, with other District Agronomists, throughout the Northern and Central NSW , when I was District Agronomist at Scone. This was probably one of the most comprehensive pasture nutrition studies ever undertaken in NSW.
Long term trials , which experience and are measured over a full range of seasons, from good years to severe drought like this one run between 1990 to 1996, is much more valuable than short term trials only done in a good season.
Please study this graph.
So what are my "Take Home Messages"
* Rainfall listed under each bar shows the rainfall from autumn to spring in that year. Scone long term average from May to October is 300mm, so you can see had every season in this 6 year period, from above average in 1990 (340mm) & 1993 (310mm) to severe drought in 1992 with only 70mm. You cant change the rainfall but you have total control how your pastures respond to rainfall.
* Fertilised pastures respond to rainfall , under all seasons, even in droughts better than unfertilised pastures.
*Fertilised pastures grew 2-3 times more pasture in both good and bad seasons, than unfertilised pastures. Even in the low rainfall year of 1992 & the dry winter period of 1994, we recorded more than double the pasture growth than what was grown on the unfertilised pasture.
*Unfertilised pastures fail to respond to rainfall, even in good seasons.
*On average, over these 6 years which experienced every season combination, we grew less than 500 kg/ha on the Unfertilised pastures from autumn to spring, while we grew on average over 2300 kg/ha with fertiliser applied.!!! With the same amount of RAIN !!!
* Over the 6 years, we only grew a total of 3300 kg/ha on the Unfertilised pastures , while we grew a total of 14000 kg/ha on fertilised pastures over that autumn to spring period !! That's over 3 times the feed with the same amount of RAIN !!!
Having pastures that can respond to rain events under both good and tough seasons , will be a critical issues in our challenging climate.

Some say they can`t afford to use fertiliser.....however this trial and many other trials show that, " You can`t afford NOT to fertilise your pastures !
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As posted on several previous occasions now, this drought (2017+2018) was amongst my "Gang of 5" worst drought periods in the last 100 years, breaking several records during the last 24-30 months. But this drought, as at June 2019, has decided to continue in this mode and become our driest recorded 2 year June to June period, in some 118 years of records. (See Graph).
In the graph attached, the lower heavy line is our current cumulative rainfall over this 2 year period and shows how it has departed from the other years for lowest cumulative rainfall. We compare this line to all other 2 year periods, which appear as the "mares tail" fine lines across the graph. The central darker line being the median cumulative rainfall line for Scone.

Over this 2 year period, (June 2017 to June 2019) Scone has only recorded 699 mm which is 600 mm below the long term median rainfall for this period. Effectively we have only received around half our average rainfall for 2 consecutive years. When we look at its ranking for 3 year period (June 2016-June 2019) and 4 year periods (June 2015-June 2019) it is not the driest, but it is in the mix for these periods. Many areas in inland NSW continue to be severely affected by this drought.

One of the driest extended droughts in last 100 years appears to be the 1935-1941 period, when there was 7 consecutive years of drought like conditions. Fortunately most drought periods in recent times have been broken after 2 years of drought. Hopefully we are in that group? (For more reading see my Post on 22 March 2019.)

A 100 years of rainfall records is a 'blip" in Australia`s climate records and the last 100 years of data does not reflect the full range of drought and flood conditions experienced here. Recent Australian climate research looking at tree growth rings, coral cores as well as ice cores from Antarctica, is providing a clearer insight into now a 1000 years of climate data for South Eastern Australia. This work confirms Australia has over this period, experienced a highly variable climate fluctuating from combinations of wet and drought periods.

This research also confirms that seasonal droughts and megadroughts (more than 5 years drought) are not a recent man-made or new climate change phenomena, but have been a common occurrence over the last 1000 years . The longest drought period being 39 years in the period (1174 to 1212 AD), with researchers noting that this unparalleled drought was the exclamation point on a uniquely dry period in Australia, in which 80 of the 111 concurrent years (over the period 1102 to 1212 AD) persisted in drought.
Since the First Fleet arrived, in January 1788, they too were challenged by severe heat, droughts and floods, which makes interesting reading.
Remember, we do live on the driest inhabited continent in the world, but also every dry period has been followed by a wet period.
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Now listen up girls ! Listen up ! We know this drought has been tough and it's not over yet. I know you are all going to calve for the first time over the next few weeks and you will be OK , as you are all in great condition and we will look after you . Yes this drought is tough for everyone, stick together, support each other and lets all try to stay positive! It will rain again and the grass will grow. You are now dismissed ...carry on ! Murdoch 🐾 ... See MoreSee Less

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A long day but a good day, completing our pasture oversowing program for the Segenhoe (Stud) Group east of Scone. Management at Segenhoe Stud place a high importance on their pasture resources and the nutritional role they play in growing and feeding some of Australia's leading thoroughbred horses. ... See MoreSee Less

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