Ponded pastures are created by building earth banks to impound water, and planting grass species that have adapted to grow in these conditions.
These systems have been developed by the grazing industry in low lying areas of the state, particularly in coastal areas, to produce fodder to complement more extensive grazing practices.
Though they have improved productivity in the beef industry, they have had a substantial impact on tidal areas and natural wetlands by spreading introduced pasture species and interfering with water flow resulting in:
- loss of fish habitat
- disruption of natural freshwater drainage
- disruption of incursion of seawater.
Plant species used
Both introduced and native species are used in ponded pastures, though the native species are considered much less productive. The introduced species used in Queensland are:
- para grass (Brachiaria mutica)
- aleman grass (Echinochloa polystachya cv. Amity)
- hymenachne (Hymenachne amplexicaulus cv. Olive)
All of these, which are native to South America, are now regarded as invasive weeds in natural freshwater wetland systems and waterways (e.g. drains on land used for sugar cane production).
Control of ponded pastures
The government has approved a policy to control the location, design, and management of ponded pastures. The policy informs state agencies, local governments, the cattle industry, and landholders on how to meet their responsibilities.
Last reviewed 14 March 2011
Last updated 9 September 2008