Tak­ing own­er­ship of pas­ture va­ri­eties

Dairy News Australia - - PASTURES -

WITH A mul­ti­tude of pas­ture va­ri­eties avail­able on the mar­ket it can be dif­fi­cult se­lect­ing the right cul­ti­var to suit your farm. Not­man Pas­ture Seeds have con­ducted a pas­ture trial pro­gram in south­ern Australia where farm­ers can iden­tify what per­forms well un­der their lo­cal con­di­tions and man­age­ment prac­tices. Agron­o­mist An­drew All­sop, based with Not­man Pas­ture Seeds in west­ern Vic­to­ria, said the trial pro­gram al­lows farm­ers to see how in­no­va­tions in pas­ture breed­ing are de­liv­er­ing in­creases in pas­ture yield, per­sis­tence and qual­ity on their farm. Mr All­sop said the trial pro­grams are con­ducted un­der stan­dard in­dus­try pro­to­col. “Work­ing with farm­ers al­lows us to com­pare in­dus­try stan­dards with cur­rent farm­ing prac­tices, and we are able to iden­tify the suit­abil­ity of new germ plasm in our lo­cal en­vi­ron­ments and screen yet to be re­leased lines with cur­rent in­dus­try stan­dards and prac­tices,” he said. An­drew said Not­man Pas­ture Seeds run sites pre­dom­i­nately in high rain­fall or ir­ri­ga­tion zones of south­ern Australia and fo­cus on cri­te­ria in­clud­ing per­sis­tence, sea­sonal pro­duc­tion, qual­ity and palata­bil­ity. A peren­nial rye-grass trial sown on dairy farmer Mark Ham­mond’s Laber­touche farm has en­abled him to com­pare cur­rent mar­ket va­ri­eties to new breed­ing lines com­ing through. In the repli­cated trial, Mark said it has been good to iden­tify those rye-grass va­ri­eties which are per­form­ing well un­der the lo­cal con­di­tions. “It’s been good to see what works on our farm and what doesn’t,” he said. Mark said the trial re­sults have given him con­fi­dence, with the peren­nial rye-grass va­ri­eties planted on his farm gen­er­ally be­ing the top per­form­ing trial va­ri­eties. Pas­ture species trial re­sults vary from trial to trial and dif­fer­ent cul­ti­vars be­have dif­fer­ently un­der dif­fer­ent man­age­ment con­di­tions. Adam Fisher of Not­man Pas­ture Seeds said the rea­son for this vari­ance is of­ten de­ter­mined by a num­ber of fac­tors. “Th­ese in­clude the par­tic­u­lar grow­ing con­di­tions and trial man­age­ment at the site; whether the trial was run on a re­search sta­tion or on­farm; and whether the tri­als were sole species or in mixes.” He said Not­man Pas­ture Seeds em­pha­sised per­sis­tence as a key in­di­ca­tor when mea­sur­ing the per­for­mance of a peren­nial rye-grass as it’s a char­ac­ter­is­tic that’s im­por­tant ad­van­tage in a tough year “Cul­ti­var se­lec­tion is im­por­tant when ren­o­vat­ing pas­tures. How­ever, un­der­stand­ing what works and what doesn’t work on your farm can be in­valu­able. “By see­ing the new in­no­va­tions in rye-grass plant breed­ing first hand you can see the ex­tra ben­e­fits in yield, per­sis­tence and qual­ity the newer va­ri­eties are de­liv­er­ing.”

Crop­mark Re­search Di­rec­tor Nick Cameron, with Not­man Seeds’ Adam Fisher and Peter Not­man.

Not­man Seeds’ An­drew All­sop un­der­tak­ing a prob­ing trial at Al­lans­ford, Vic­to­ria.

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