Taking ownership of pasture varieties
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.