Ryegrass variety popular for summer
FOR farmers looking to fill a potential feed gap over the summer months, an Italian ryegrass called Concord II, which has been developed by seed company PGG Wrightson Seeds, is enjoying increasing popularity.
As PGG Wrightson Seeds Pasture agronomist Matt Carracher explained, recent environmental conditions have created a greater than usual requirement for the strategic planting of ryegrasses like Concord II.
“Due to the relative lack of rain, an increase in insect numbers and a recent cold snap, many farmers are looking for fast and easy winter feed solutions. It means we’re seeing a lot of cereals being sown lately – but their early finish creates a feed gap. Spring sowing with an Italian ryegrass can help to fill that gap,” he said.
With many previous Italian ryegrasses generally offering good seedling vigour, but inferior persistence, Concord II is much more resilient and flexible, allowing it to be used in many more situations.
“Concord II is bred for its speed of establishment. It’s very fast out of the ground, which means farmers can have the paddock back in rotation very quickly. It’s also able to persist into the second year, unlike some other Italian ryegrass. And being a diploid ryegrass, it’s very hardy, and will stand up to challenging conditions.”
Dairy producer Jed Boshier at Boshier Farms in western Victoria has already experienced the benefits of spring-sowing Concord II.
Mr Boshier planted Concord II for dryland dairy pastures in late August, which yielded 10 tonnes per hectare over the season.
“I like the Italian ryegrass because of its fast establishment, high regrowth rates and its ability to persist under moderate heat stress. It has made great quality silage, some of the best we’ve ever cut. We also were able to take a second cut of hay before Christmas and fed young stock on returned regrowth later in the summer,” he said.
“Harvesting good quality silage is one thing we can control. I would also recommend spring-sowing Concord II as a beneficial option for cattle or sheep producers. It’s a great variety of grass that produces high quality feed right through the summer in favourable conditions.”
PASTURES OF FEED: Concord II ryegrass has been popular among farmers.