Rye­grass va­ri­ety pop­u­lar for sum­mer

Central and North Rural Weekly - - FRONT PAGE -

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.”

PHOTO: CON­TRIB­UTED

PAS­TURES OF FEED: Con­cord II rye­grass has been pop­u­lar among farm­ers.

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