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Tetrone Annual Italian Ryegrass Farmer's Feedback
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Tetrone Annual Italian Ryegrass Farmer's Feedback

Andrew DanielTetrone ryegrass a good bulk-up option for hay cut - Tetrone Annual Italian Ryegrass

Andrew Daniel inspecting the oats, Tetrone ryegrass and medic mix, used for hay on the property. Ryegrass proved an excellent option in a mix with oats and medic for a hay crop on the property of Andrew Daniel, near Yorketown, on the Yorke Peninsula in South Australia. Mr Daniel said he normally used a mix of oats and vetch for hay production but replaced the vetch with Tetrone annual Italian ryegrass and a medic mix last season. “Tetrone was recommended to me to grow a bit of bulk,” he said. The hay blend consisted of Wallaroo oats (sown at 40 kilograms per hectare), Tetrone ryegrass (sown at 17 kilograms per hectare) and a mix of Paraggio, Parabinga and Goldstrike Caliph medic varieties. Tetrone exhibited excellent vigour at the start of the season. “I was actually worried that the oats were going to be choked out,” Mr Daniel said. “The ryegrass was 12 inches high and powering on better than the oats,” he said. While the ryegrass made the most of the early running, the oats did come back later in the season to produce a high yielding, bulky hay mix.

The 18 hectare paddock was cut in late October and produced 270 five foot by four foot round bales. With each bale weighing approximately one third of a tonne, the areas averaged around 5 tonnes per hectare in an excellent result. Mr Daniel said the hay quality was very good with the ryegrass and medic component helping to improve the protein content. “It was nice and green,” he said. The ryegrass component of the forage was almost a metre tall in places and could be seen coming up through the top of the oats. “It certainly made a good hay crop,” Mr Daniel said. “I was very happy with it.” The crop was direct-drilled into an old pasture paddock with the seed sown into nine inch row spacings on May 10 last year. A knock-down was used prior to sowing and the mix responded well under the good seasonal conditions. The paddock was not grazed as it also contained a wheat crop, although this could be an option in the future. “I wouldn’t mind trying a paddock as a grazing prospect,” Mr Daniel said. “I think if I’d grazed it off it might have yielded even more hay,” he said. The hay is all used on-farm with cattle and sheep being fed the forage over the autumn period. Both the ryegrass and medic component of the hay meant it was more palatable to sheep. “The sheep seem to like a bit more grass and medic in the hay than pure oats,” Mr Daniel said.

Andrew Daniel, near Yorketown, Yorke Peninsula, South Australia

Ryegrass experiment convincing on SA property - Tetrone Annual Italian Ryegrass

A successful experiment with annual Italian ryegrass in the middle of an oats paddock convinced Anthony Baldissera of Ungarra, South Australia of the benefits of the species. Mr Baldissera said they first used Tetrone annual Italian ryegrass two years ago as sheep feed in a comparison with oats. “We did a strip down the centre of the paddock with the oats on either side,” he said. “The sheep lived on the ryegrass and not the oats.” “In the trial I could see up the strip every day - they were on the strip.” The success of the trial convinced Mr Baldissera to plant more last season with a 20 hectare paddock sown pure to Tetrone ryegrass just after Anzac Day. A sowing rate of 15 kilograms per hectare was used with starter fertiliser also applied at a rate of 40 kilograms per hectare. Mr Baldissera said a mob of 300 sheep were first introduced to the paddock quite early in the season and allowed to crash graze the area.

The sheep were removed for three weeks and then placed back in the area for much of the remainder of the season. “They went in as a whole mob and the stuff started to get away,” Mr Baldissera said. Later in the season lambs and their mothers utilised the feed and continued to graze the paddock right through until cropping stubbles were available in December. “We can really see the benefits of the ryegrass,” Mr Baldissera said. He said the Tetrone ryegrass worked well in smaller paddock types so that the sheep could be rotated from different areas. This allowed each paddock to be spelled through the season and also gave an opportunity to let a section go as insurance if the season went dry. Mr Baldissera said the use of Tetrone annual Italian ryegrass could also be used in cropping rotations and as a way to control annual ryegrass weeds. “It is very important not to let ryegrass go to seed,” he said. The pasture paddocks are well grazed and then either slashed or spraytopped with herbicide to reduce seed set. In the previous season the Tetrone paddock contained wheat and it has been rotated through to a barley crop in 2010. Mr Baldissera said it was a particularly good paddock for seed propagation and they were able to keep it cleaner with the use of an Italian ryegrass in the rotation.

Anthony Baldissera of Ungarra, South Australia

Malcolm CollettDirect-drilled ryegrass an excellent option for Katunga dairy
Tetrone Annual Italian Ryegrass

Ryegrass directdrilled into old pasture paddocks has proved an excellent option for dairy farmer, Malcolm Collett at Katunga, in northern Victoria. The ryegrass pasture provided its first grazing at the end of May, a subsequent silage cut and further grazing options later in the year. Mr Collett said the 16 hectare and 14 hectares were not watered over the summer and received the first irrigation at planting in early March. He planted a blend of Diplex Italian ryegrass and Magnum hybrid ryegrass into the old sub-clover paddock at a rate of 25 kilograms per hectare and watered it again five days later. “That was as much water as it had,” he said. The 200 cow dairy herd then strip grazed the area for a number of weeks, during the day time and had access to a nearby forage wheat crop during the night. Excellent growth from the ryegrass meant some of the area grew quite tall and dry cows were used to clean it up before the paddocks were locked up for silage.

Mr Collett said urea was then applied to the paddocks and they were watered and then harvested into round bale silage during the spring. He said the ryegrass produced excellent quality silage with a protein content of up to 18 and 19 percent achieved. After the silage cut the cows were again able to graze the paddock, with the crop responding to good rains in November to provide further option into summer. ”We had a good season early, but it petered out towards the end,” Mr Collett said. “I was very happy with the ryegrass. I think we will do a similar thing this year.” He said the silage produced on the property was a valuable option in conjunction with hay as cow feed during the summer period. Pastures sown in the autumn provide good grazing opportunities through winter and spring, but there can be a gap where silage and hay is useful. Mr Collett said the hay and silage are handy feeds prior to summer forage being ready also in the early autumn period. Of the two paddocks that contained Magnum and Diplex ryegrasses ryegrass last season one produced more forage over the year. “Three years ago we put two and a half tonnes per hectare of composted manure on the paddock which may have helped its success,” Mr Collett said.

Malcolm Collett of Katunga, in northern Victoria

Chris DrewItalian ryegrass an excellent green crop option - Tetrone Annual Italian Ryegrass

Chris Drew, of Leighton, in South Australia used Tetrone annual Italian ryegrass as green chop for the dairy herd. Ryegrass has proved to be an excellent green chop option to feed dairy cows on the property of Chris Drew, at Leighton, in South Australia’s mid-north region. Mr Drew said he first used Tetrone annual Italian ryegrass three years ago and found it well suited to the property. “Tetrone seems well suited to our area,” he said. “We need something with early growth. We’d tried some others but there was not much growth in the winter. Tetrone seemed to go all right.” Mr Drew said the area traditionally had heavy frosts in the winter and very hot springs and it was important to pick a ryegrass that could adapt to the two extremes in weather conditions. Tetrone on the property is typically planted in late April or early May with the green chop commencing in late winter or early Spring. Last season, the crop was sown in mid-May and the green chop was first harvested from the paddock in August.

The forage is taken daily with the area cut aligned with the needs of the dairy at the time. It is chopped, windrowed, picked up and utilised immediately. Mr Drew said the Tetrone was sown at a rate of 20 kilograms per hectare with an application of 120 kilograms per hectare of a fertiliser blend. Urea is applied at a rate of 50 kilograms per hectare before the first cut and again after the first cut to encourage further growth. Last season the first cuts took place in August, with a follow-up cut occurring in mid-September. Mr Drew said he was happy to get two good cuts off the Tetrone ryegrass per season, although more cuts were possible if conditions were suitable. Last season a third cut looked likely until the hot weather in October intervened. Instead of cutting the area for green chop, the dairy cows were allowed to graze the paddock through the late spring months. Tetrone ryegrass is an excellent option for the dairy with its quick growth and excellent response after cutting or grazing. It is a tetraploid plant type which means it has double the number of chromosomes (28) than the more traditional Diploid ryegrasses (14 chromosomes). The increased number of chromosomes has led to better tillering, faster growth, larger leaf size, higher moisture and greater carbohydrate content. Tetrone ryegrass is extremely frost resistant and has excellent cool season growth for good winter feed. Its mid-maturity means it can hold onto, and keep producing through the spring period instead of going to seed.

Chris Drew, of Leighton, South Australia

Bruce MorganBruce Morgan - Tetrone Annual Italian Ryegrass

Bruce Morgan, of Coulta, on the Eyre Peninsula in South Australia has had excellent success with Tetrone ryegrass over the past two seasons. Ryegrass has proved an excellent feed option for the last two seasons on the property of Bruce Morgan, at Coulta, on the Eyre Peninsula in South Australia.Tetrone annual Italian ryegrass was first used on the property during 2008 and impressed with its growth throughout the season and the way it responded to limited rainfall in a dry spring. The ryegrass was providing green pick for sheep at the end of November and early December that year despite the unfavourable conditions. Mr Morgan said its performance that year meant it was sown again in 2009 into a wetter paddock that was unsuitable for cropping. The property is predominantly cropping although 1500 to 2000 ewes are also stocked throughout the year. In 2009 the Tetrone ryegrass was sown to a 12 hectare paddock in the second week of May. A sowing rate of 20 kilograms per hectare was used and the paddock also had an application of fertiliser (consisting of nitrogen, potassium and some zinc) at planting.

The first grazing from the ryegrass took place in mid-July, eight weeks after planting, with 320 ewes and 300 lambs feeding off the paddock for the next three weeks. Mr Morgan said high stocking rates allowed the paddock to be grazed down quickly and also helped control problem grass species such as Silver Grass and Wimmera ryegrass. A heavy grazing early in the season also provided an opportunity to use the paddock for hay production during spring and help control seed set of the problem weeds. After the initial grazing, the paddock was broken up into two six hectare paddocks with the use of an electric wire and the individual sections were cell grazed by smaller mobs of sheep. Urea at a rate of 70 kilograms per hectare was applied to the blocks after each grazing and helped ensure excellent regrowth and quicker downtime through to when the lambs could re-enter the area. The paddocks were used to finish lambs prior to market. Generally there were 300 lambs rotating across the two paddocks during the six weeks prior to the stock being sent to market. Mr Morgan said the good growth of the Tetrone ryegrass allowed them to run a lot of stock in a small area. “It helped us run more stock and gave the other paddocks a break,” he said. “We can then put the stock into the other areas in smaller numbers later in the season.” Lambs were still grazing the paddocks into November, 2009 with the blocks providing a valuable and quality option during the dry spring conditions.

Bruce Morgan, of Coulta, Eyre Peninsula, South Australia

Colin RossPasture mix performs well at Kapunda - Tetrone Annual Italian Ryegrass

Colin Ross, of Kapunda, in South Australia had good success with a pasture mix of the Tetrone ryegrass and Clare 2 sub-clover last season. A mixture of ryegrass and sub-clover has performed well on the property of Colin Ross, at Kapunda, near the Barossa Valley in South Australia. Mr Ross said the pasture mix of the Tetrone annual Italian ryegrass and Clare 2 sub-clover had worked well for a number of years providing good feed early and the option for hay, as the season permits, later in the year. He said the ryegrass/sub-clover mix was sown after the break in April, with the ryegrass component used for early feed and bulk in hay production. The sub-clover provides valuable protein for grazing and hay production and is also a handy break crop option.

Sheep were introduced to the 60 hectare paddock within eight to ten weeks of sowing and did very well on the forage. Mr Ross said he ran 700 sheep on the area for most of the winter, with the paddock divided into two 30 hectare parts and the stock rotationally grazed both parts. An adjacent area was also used as part of the rotation during the coldest part of winter. He said the ryegrass/sub-clover paddock was sown at a rate of 15 kilograms per hectare immediately after the autumn break and also received 100 kilograms per hectare of MAP up-front. A good seedbed which had been prepared after the previous year’s barley crop ensured an excellent germination and a good deal of bulk forage when the stock were introduced.

Mr Ross said he would normally leave the introduction of the stock until later in the season, however the earlier start provided the chance for the sheep to take advantage of the ryegrass growth. “We find the earlier you graze the better the clover does later in the season,” he said. The sheep were taken from the paddock in mid-August and the area then locked up for hay production. Good rain immediately after the lock-up prompted Mr Ross to add a further 40 kilograms per hectare of nitrogen to the paddock to stimulate further growth through the spring. Approximately 40 hectares of the paddock was harvested for hay in mid-October and produced 450 round bales. Some of the hay was sold to a local dairy as a high quality feed option. Mr Ross said the 20 hectares not taken for hay was spray-topped with the mix used as a break crop to control weeds and avoid disease in the cropping rotation.

Colin Ross, Kapunda, South Australia

dMerv Schuster - Tetrone Annual Italian Ryegrass

Tetrone ryegrass is used in a mix with clover to produce high quality feed for the horse industry on the property of Merv and Gavin Schuster at Freeling. A species mix of 60 percent Tetrone ryegrass and 40 percent clover is used to produce a product sought after by local and international buyers. Gavin Schuster said they had been able to achieve 5 tonnes per hectare from the mix under the tough seasonal conditions of the past two years.

Merv Schuster, Freeling SA

dJohn & Solomon Burns - Tetrone Annual Italian Ryegrass

A mixture of Tetrone ryegrass and self-sown oats produced feed throughout the season for John and Solomon Burns of Cummins. The vigour of the oats allowed him to graze the paddock after just five weeks and combined well with the ryegrass for the rest of the season.“Oats had the bulk up early which was beneficial to allow the Tetrone to get away. Stock couldn’t keep up with it,” John Burns said. The 120 hectares fed 1100 ewes from the start of June until well after the winter crop had been finalised. “The oats - Tetrone combination was by far the best feed we had. “Last year was one of the best wool clips we had ever had.”

John and Solomon Burns, Cummins SA

dTetrone ryegrass was used as a break crop to control snails on our property
Tetrone Annual Italian Ryegrass

One paddock had been continuously cropped for 10 years and he made a decision to put it back into pasture. Approximately 120 hectares were sown in late March which was predominantly ryegrass although some paddocks also included a planting of oats. One section was sown in late March and at 10 kg/ha of Tetrone and 50 kg/ha of oats. It seemed to work quite well. The first one or two grazings the stock ate the oats but once the oats gave up the ghost the Tetrone took over and powered away. The 38 hectare paddock had 700 cross-bred lambs introduced on May 23 and supported a similar number throughout the year. Urea was applied after each grazing. In early spring, the paddock was cut down the centre with an electric wire and one side locked up. It was then harvested for hay and produced 170 large rolls. Rain late in October rejuvenated the paddock which still fed 500 lambs well in the New Year. We have not noticed as many snails in the paddock and would also use the Tetrone/oats mix this season.

James and Neil Russell, Green Patch SA

Tony Sumner - Tetrone Annual Italian Ryegrass

One hundred hectares for Tetrone ryegrass was the main feed source through spring and summer for 1200 sheep on the property of Tony Sumner at Mt Bryan last season. Mr Sumner planted the crop in May and first put the sheep into the paddock in early August. The area was cut into two sections and the stock rotated week-on, week-off throughout the spring. Rainfall in late October helped the Tetrone kick away again and provided valuable feed through until February. Mr Sumner said this season he would look at planting the ryegrass with barley to provide good bulk feed from the cereal early in the season and have the advantage of the Tetrone through the spring and summer period.

Tony Sumner, Mt Bryan SA

dPhil Hyde - Tetrone Annual Italian Ryegrass

Excellent quality hay was made from a paddock of Tetrone ryegrass on the property of Phil Hyde at Green Patch. The hay was a combination of ryegrass and clover oversown into a strawberry clover flat. Mr Hyde said the hay went in green and came out green with excellent colour. The hay was taken from a forty hectare paddock that was sown at the start of April and first grazed four weeks later. One thousand weaners ate down the pasture until the end of July. The paddock had an application of urea and was shut up for the rest of the season. With one rainfall in that time, the paddock produced nearly 600 rolls of hay.

Phil Hyde, Green Patch SA

John Crozier - Tetrone Annual Italian Ryegrass

A mix of Tetrone ryegrass, balansa clover and oats provided a phenomenal amount of feed over winter, spring and into summer for John Crozier of “Mondilibi”, Mortlake Victoria. Mr Crozier said he would be up the creek without the pasture mix which was planted to 225 hectares in early May. One thousand ewes lambed down in one paddock in June and the mix enabled the sale of 7000 lambs before Christmas. “We used the annual mix to finish lambs on the grass,” Mr Crozier said. The oats component of the mix provided the early growth and then the Tetrone ryegrass and balansa components provided excellent feed for the rest of the season. “It gave us a power of feed last year just when we needed it.” Cows and calves were still grazing the paddocks in mid-February. Mr Crozier said this season he would use a similar mix and hoped to ensile some of it to put in a bunker.

Jogn Crozier, Mortlake, Victoria

dAndrew & John Mitchell - Tetrone Annual Italian Ryegrass

A trial paddock of straight Tetrone ryegrass provided excellent grazing and hay options on the property of Andrew, John and David Mitchell at Mintaro SA. Andrew Mitchell said the paddock was put in to see how it would go for sheep and provided two early grazings and then a cut of hay. He said they harvested 27 big squares off five hectares at more than 4 t/ha. ”We are very excited about what it can do.” Feed tests from a processor came up really well and the pasture could even command provide a premium price over cereal hay. “It would be comparable to cereal hay in yield,” Mr Mitchell said.

Andrew & John Mitchell, Mintaro SA

Colin RossSusan ShawSusan Shaw - Tetrone Annual Italian Ryegrass

A decision to plant annual ryegrass provided excellent cattle weight gains and feed well into spring and summer on the property of Susan Shaw at “Dunneworth”,  Ararat in central Victoria. Ms Shaw said they had been looking at using annual ryegrasses for a number of years and planted Tetrone ryegrass to two paddocks this season. The initial 32 hectare paddock was sown in late April at a rate of 10 kilograms per hectare and was grazed with Hereford steers from June. Ms Shaw said it was quicker than other grasses to establish and provided enough early feed to take the two-yearold steers up to feedlot weight.  “It produced a lot of kilograms through the spring,” she said. “The cattle averaged 1.8 kilograms per day on the feed.” The cattle were allowed to graze the area for approximately a month before the paddock was spelled and then utilised again later in the season.

When the stock reached feedlot weight they were sold. Ms Shaw said the feed from the Tetrone was very handy during the spring months as many of the paddocks were being locked up for hay production.  The hay is conserved to fill feed gaps later in the season. Tetrone was also planted to an 80 hectare area which was set-stocked with 3000 weaned lambs which had been born in the autumn. After being weaned into the paddock in early September, the merino lambs were keeping good condition on the feed throughout October and November.  Later in the season the mob numbers were reduced to 1200 head and the Tetrone feed started to grow away from the sheep. The large paddock produced a bulk of feed over many months on the property.

Susan Shaw, Ararat VIC

Andrew & Leoni Green - Tetrone Annual Italian Ryegrass

A DSE of 27 was achieved from a number of Tetrone ryegrass paddocks on the property of Andrew and Leonie Green at Warunda, SA last season. Leonie Green said the ryegrass was planted in eight different paddock types and sizes. The paddock sizes range from 10 hectares through to one 80 hectare block which was split into three sections. “It worked best with the smaller paddocks,” Mrs Green said. “With the smaller paddocks we would put a mob of about 300 on it and they would graze it down evenly before being put into another paddock. “It didn’t taker long for the ryegrass to come back.” The Tetrone was planted in a range of paddocks as a weed control option.“We had a lot of weeds issues,” she said. ”It was a good way to clean it up.” Ewes and lambs grazed the Tetrone paddocks with the first lot of lambs sold off at four months and attracting an average price of $55. Some of the remaining lambs were sold in January at $95. “It is certainly the way to go,” Mrs Green said. “A lot of people have seen it and asked about it.”

Andrew & Leonie Green, Warunda, SA

dJulian Baillie - Tetrone Annual Italian Ryegrass

A paddock of Tetrone ryegrass provided valuable feed in the July - August period for Julian Baillie of Tumby Bay. Mr Baillie said the Tetrone was planted in a 10 hectare paddock as a trial last season to provide feed for lambing ewes during winter. The paddock chosen had a number of weed species that included marshmallow, fumitory, capeweed and barley grass which were allowed to germinate and then sprayed out prior to sowing. “We had a good strike (from the Tetrone) and it quickly covered the whole paddock,” Mr Baillie said. Good conditions early meant the Tetrone provided an excellent option for lambing ewes in the July through to September period.

The paddock was divided in half and two mobs totalling 130 ewes and 140 lambs grazed the area. “At the time when we really needed it we were able to use it,” Mr Baillie said. The property is predominantly a Merino operation with a Merino Stud. Mr Baillie said there was a need for a lot of smaller paddocks (2 to 10 hectares) for mating and grazing purposes and the Tetrone option suited this well. The latter half of the year was very dry although the Tetrone paddock did respond late in the season on the back of some November rainfall. “The paddock came again and we received another two weeks grazing out of it,” Mr Baillie said. He said they would use Tetrone again this season. “In a marginal year (2007) we were really happy with it,” Mr Baillie said. “I think it will do really good things in a better year.”

Julian Baillie, Tumby Bay SA
Chris Randall "Springfield" Pallamallawa, NSW
Jivet Annual Italian Ryegrass (Tetraploid) Farmer's Feedback

Brad Tyrell - Jivet Tetraploid Annual Italian Ryegrass

A planting of Jivet tetraploid annual Italian ryegrass produced a bulk of feed and lifted milk yields last season on the property of Brad Tyrell, at Coolagolite, on the south-coast of New South Wales. Mr Tyrell said he had planted Jivet for the second year running and was pleased with what it was able to produce across the season. He said 2012, in particular, was an excellent year and highlighted by two paddocks of Jivet which were planted in February. Normally the ryegrasses take nine days to emerge on the property, but in the excellent conditions of the season, the two paddocks germinated on the fifth and seventh days. A 2.2 hectare area of Jivet was grazed by the whole dairy herd lightly and then became part of the overall ryegrass rotation. Over the course of the year the area was grazed 15 times and also produced two cuts of silage. Mr Tyrell said the sunny warm days at the end of winter and into spring really made the Jivet grow quickly and they were able to reduce the grazing to just 12 day intervals. A real key to the feed was the lift in milk production every time the herd went onto the Jivet paddocks. He said they were milking between 250 and 320 cows at different times during the season and the daily output increased by 400 litres when the herd grazed the Jivet.

Over the season Jivet responded very quickly after being grazed and was the first area cut for silage in the spring. The initial cut from the 2.2 hectares yielded 16 large round bales of silage, with the second cut, conducted just 32 days later, producing 36 round bales. Mr Tyrell said the growth of Jivet between the first and second cut was huge with the forage up to his waist just prior to the silage being cut. He said that even at that late stage the seeds heads were only just starting to appear and the silage produced was of a very high quality. The area was grazed for a final time in early December before the paddocks were made ready for the 2013 crops. Jivet was planted at a rate of 40 kilograms per hectare and was seeded with DAP to ensure good nutrition at the start of the season. After every third grazing, urea at 120 kilograms per hectare and Potash at 180 kilograms per hectare were applied. The dairy also make their own boutique range of Fetta, Camembert and Blue Cheeses.

Brad Tyrell, of Coolagolite, NSW

Thomas Haymes - Jivet Tetraploid Annual Italian Ryegrass

Jivet Annual Italian ryegrass performed well through the season in a trial on the Haymes property, at Yarram, in the East Gippsland region of Victoria. Thomas Haymes said they were looking at annual ryegrass options last season and placed Jivet in the middle of a paddock of Winter Star ryegrass. He said in the good conditions of the season, Jivet was treated the same as the other option and both produced two grazings, a silage cut and a subsequent grazing during the year. “After the silage cut you could see the line in the paddock and the Jivet was definitely a darker green,” he said. The crops were grown under dryland conditions and were planted in the autumn and then grazed by dairy cows through the winter months. An electric fence was used to progress the animals through the paddocks and the ryegrass came back quickly to be able to be grazed again. Mr Haymes said it was the first time they had used that sort of product and had decided to grow it so they could rotate the paddock back into a summer crop option.

He said more long-term ryegrasses were traditionally used, however the annual produced more feed early and was also a cheaper option to sow. “The annuals grew a bit harder,” he said. Initially the intention was to rotate the paddock into the summer crop after silage, however the quick regrowth meant there was the opportunity for another graze within three weeks of the bales being taken off the paddock. Yields of between 7 and 8 bales per hectare were achieved with the silage and the additional grazing was an extra bonus. The pasture paddock had previously contained Kikuyu, which the Haymes were trying to get rid of, and it had been worked up the previous season with the intention of growing lucerne. Dry conditions at the time meant this was not an option and in autumn it was planted to the annual ryegrass and produced a bulk of feed through the season. That particular paddock was not fertilised and produced a similar amount of return to another area that did have nutrition added to the soil. Mr Haymes said the cows milked well on the feed, although they were coming to the end of their lactation cycle. He said the silage bales would be utilised over the summer months and he expected excellent quality from the forage. The trial of Jivet provided enough confidence to look at the ryegrass again next season. “I’d definitely try it again.  It was good to see the difference between them.  Normally we only have one grass.”

Thomas Haymes, of Yarram, Victoria

David McKay - Jivet Tetraploid Annual Italian Ryegrass

A range of ryegrass options provide the basis of the grazing-based dairy operation of David McKay at Bowraville on the north-coast of New South Wales. Mr McKay puts in ryegrass every year and last season included Jivet annual Italian ryegrass and Perun Festulolium in the mix. The ryegrass was planted from early March through to mid-April and all established very well with the Jivet, in particular, showing excellent emergence. “Jivet got going very quickly,” Mr McKay said. He said the grasses were sown into Kikuyu paddocks at a rate of 30 kilograms per hectare and used as the base feed for a dairy herd of 500 Jersey cows. Areas are divided into five to six hectare paddocks and an electric wire used to provide the cows with fresh grass after the morning and night milkings. “We were getting around every 28 days,” Mr McKay said. Other areas of grasses were also used to feed heifers and dry stock.

Irrigation water is used if it is needed, although the wet conditions in the area over a number of seasons meant that option was not needed or was used sparingly. Mr McKay said both the Perun and Jivet continued to grow throughout the season and both hadn’t gone to head in early December. He was unsure whether the summer activity of Perun would allow it to compete with the summer grasses. “It’s in the Kikuyu paddock so it will be interesting to see if it will persist or not.  It still looks all right.” Historically ryegrass is planted early each season and utilised throughout the year as a grazing option. In a normal season, any surplus ryegrass is turned into silage, although the drier conditions of 2012 meant this was not an option. Mr McKay said a range of other species was used for feed during the year, with clovers typically included in any ryegrass plant. Plantain, chicory and lucerne are also options.

David McKay of Bowraville on the north-coast of New South Wales

Kevin Smith - Jivet Tetraploid Annual Italian Ryegrass

Jivet ryegrass has been used to produce quick feed on the property of Kevin Smith, at Borallon, in the Brisbane Valley of Queensland. Mr Smith said he had tried many different ryegrasses over the years and last season put Jivet in against a number of other options. He said Jivet produced feed very quickly and was quite tall, with a lot of volume, which made it ideal for feeding his dairy cows. The property is irrigated out of the Brisbane River and runs a mix of Ayreshire and Jersey cows. Mr Smith said Ayreshire cows had been developed by the family on the property for 100 years and were an ideal option for the region due to their low somatic cell counts, good grazing ability and excellent quality milk. He said the Jivet and other ryegrasses were strip grazed regularly and then fertilised and irrigated. “With Jivet you can feed it out at 32 to 36 days after planting,” he said. Planting occurs in March, with a sowing rate of 25 kilograms per acre (62.5 kilograms per hectare) ensuring a good establishment and a quality forage.

The first grazing is generally lighter and then the ryegrasses swing into full production shortly afterwards. Electric fences are utilised throughout the property and the rotation cycle varies according to the time of year, although it can come down to every 14 to 16 days during full production around July and August. Mr Smith said humidity could be an issue and different times of the year and meant some ryegrasses were quick to go to head at the end of the season. He said Jivet seemed to hang on quite well over the spring period. Subtropical grasses, including Callide Rhodes Grass, are utilised over the summer months and work well with good nutrition and shorter grazing schedules. Ryegrasses such as Jivet are then utilised during the winter and spring when the tropical grasses shut down and through the cooler months. The dairy is grass based and is calving all year round, with June and July and main months for forage conversion and milk production.

Kevin Smith, of Borallon, in the Brisbane Valley in Queensland

Pedro EvansPedro Evans - Jivet Tetraploid Annual Italian Ryegrass

New Jivet Tetraploid Annual Italian Ryegrass was bred in Europe and has been tested for 5 years in NZ and Australia. Jivet was bred for excellent winter production to meet the targeted feed shortages that most dairy and grazing enterprise incur. The ability for Jivet to meet this feed goal over this period allows for farmers to meet carrying capacities over cold winters while also reducing supplementary feeding. The large growth curve going into spring allows for high quality grazing and silage when feed conservation is critical. With grasses like Tetila offering a cheap option in the market, we have focused on increasing the longer season biomass production with Jivet. The flowering date for Jivet is +18 days which equates to almost 3 weeks longer feed quality going into late spring early summer.

The ability to hold pasture grasses off from going to seed for longer periods allows for high quality feed later into the season. This bonus growth allows farmers to keep their Jivet paddock in high quality production and allows for the stock to extend their milking ability or live weight gain production for longer. This later shoulder of feed production in comparison to Tetila has set Jivet up as the true long season Annual partner for all farmers. Jivet in comparison to Winterstar 2 offers an additional +4 days longer season once again before going reproductive. We are excited by New Jivet Ryegrass, and the benefits that our partner farmers will see with this new product.

Pedro Evans, Senior Breeder, DLF Seeds Ltd

Allen ChristensenRyegrass provides excellent Winter Feed at Gladfield - Jivet Tetraploid Annual Italian Ryegrass

A switch away from clover towards ryegrass for weed control has provided a bulk of good feed on the property of Allan Christensen, at Gladfield, north-east of Warwick on the southern Darling Downs in Queensland. Mr Christensen said he normally relied on clover in the winter and lucerne in the summer as grazing options for his dairy cows, but went back to ryegrass for the first time in four years because of weed issues. He said problems with thistles and some flooding issues meant he was looking for a ryegrass option. “We had been out of the game for a little while so looked through the catalogue and picked Jivet,” he said. Jivet tetraploid Italian ryegrass was planted to an 18 acre and a 9 acre paddock on the property in April 2011. It replaced a clover paddock, and was ready for its first grazing within seven to eight weeks of sowing.

Mr Christensen said they were able to strip feed it with 200 plus cows in four to five acre lots. “You might get two to three days feed from it and then go onto the next block,” he said. Each area was irrigated and fertilised as soon as the dairy cows left. “If we fertilise and water it, we get 21 to 28 days turnaround from it.” Mr Christensen said. “I was very happy with the winter feed from Jivet.” Jivet ryegrass is designed to extend through the spring and into summer although there were issues with water logging on the Christensen property that prevented the forage from reaching its potential during this period. “We didn’t really look after it in the spring,” Mr Christensen said. The success of the ryegrass this season and its suitability as a break crop means it will also be grown in paddocks that contained clover in 2011. Ryegrass will provide a year of good growth and quality feed and an option for better weed control before the paddocks are rotated back to clover. Mr Christensen said the cows grazed the various pastures during the day time after they are fed a maize or cereal silage in the morning. The high protein ryegrass and clover pasture complement the fibre and energy of the silage feed. A silage and pasture feed base has also allowed a constant production of milk through the year.

Allan Christensen, Gladfield, Queensland

Jim SimpsonJivet Ryegrass extending the season at Riverina Milk - Jivet Tetraploid Annual Italian Ryegrass

Jivet annual Italian ryegrass was used to lengthen out the feed window on the Riverina Milk property, located west of Corowa north of the river in New South Wales. Jim Simpson, from Riverina Milk, said they used Jivet for the first time last season with the intention of filling the shoulder before the lucerne starts during summer. He said they normally planted earlier annual ryegrasses and this season still had Tetrone and Rocket as shorter season options but included Jivet to one third of the area. “We found Jivet was a little bit later coming up, but that was more than off-set at the other end in terms of quality and growth towards summer.” Jivet was being grazed by young stock in mid-December with the quality of the forage maintained throughout the year. Mr Simpson said the last grazing of Jivet should dovetail nicely into when existing lucerne pastures were ready for grazing or cutting. He said they took green chop off the Jivet, as well as three grazings and three silage cuts across the season. The green chop and silage was utilised by the milkers with other stock grazing the areas at different times.

Similar rotational grazing timelines were used for both Jivet and the shorter-season ryegrasses with the Jivet lasting a good deal longer than the others. “Rocket dropped out a good two to four weeks earlier than the Jivet,” Mr Simpson said. Jivet was planted in late March at a sowing rate of 25 kilograms per hectare and also had 2.5 kilograms per hectare of shaftal clover mixed in. Fifty kilograms per hectare of DAP was applied at sowing and the crop also had the equivalent of 110 units per hectare of nitrogen and recycled effluent put on at different stages of the season. Irrigation water was applied in the autumn and spring, with the crop receiving just 2.5 megalitres per hectare across a good season which was quite mild through spring and early summer. Riverina Milk carry in excess of 1000 dairy cows, calve all year round and utilise ryegrass as a major winter forage option. Mr Simpson said the success of Jivet in 2011 will mean the area planted in 2012 will be increased from one third of the area to approximately sixty percent. Better water availability in recent years has meant irrigations in later spring and early summer on Jivet are worthwhile to achieve quality feed at that time of year.

Jim Simpson, Corowa (NSW)
Icon Italian Ryegrass Farmer's Feedback

Paul Roderick - Icon Diploid Italian Ryegrass

The palatability of Icon Diploid Italian ryegrass has impressed Paul Roderick, on his dairy property at Harrisville, in the Fassifern Valley of Queensland. Mr Roderick milks 240 cows on 200 hectares and first used Icon in the 2011 season. “We’d read about high sugar ryegrass and wanted to try it,” he said.  “I’ve been impressed with the way it’s kept on growing right up until Christmas.  It still produced very good quality and wasn’t going to head.” He said the Icon held on really well and they even irrigated and fertilised the area at the start of December to produce a grazing option through the early part of summer. The cattle took to the Icon ryegrass throughout the year “The palatability is second to none,” Mr Roderick said.  “I usually have to mulch our paddocks once or twice a year but with Icon the cows seem to keep it under control.  I think that’s the main difference.” Icon has been used for two seasons, showing an ability to handle a range of climatic conditions. The 2011 season was quite wet and was followed in 2012 with very dry conditions that tested a lot of the ryegrass varieties.

Mr Roderick said he would also trial Jivet Tetraploid Annual Italian ryegrass next season as another option. Milk production on the various ryegrasses remained steady throughout the season with Icon part of a general rotation through the property. Mr Roderick said the ryegrass rotation starts with an area being grazed every four weeks during winter and is reduced down to every 19 to 21 days during spring. Any extra ryegrass produced is fed on by dry or young stock rather than taking it for hay or silage. “We usually have two feeds a day with about half of the dry matter for the whole herd coming from ryegrass.” Clover has also been used on the property to add quality to the feed and also to provide extra grazing options through summer and into early autumn. Last season, a crop of oats was planted early and grazed hard before Riesling white clover was sown into the stand in late May and early June. In a tough season the clover grew vigorously and was able to be irrigated and fed off during the late summer and autumn period. “If you get reasonable summer rain or irrigation we can get some autumn feed from it,” Mr Roderick said. “We can start watering it again in the autumn and let it kick away.”

Paul Roderick, of Harrisville in Queensland

Russell Bartz - Icon Diploid Italian Ryegrass

A mix of Icon Diploid Italian ryegrass and Turbo Persian clover has allowed for a very quick grazing rotation on the property of Russell Bartz, at Lowood, in the Lockyer Valley of Queensland. Mr Bartz planted the Icon / Turbo mix in late March and early April and, initially, was rotating the dairy cows through the area every 18 to 19 days. As the warmer weather of spring and early summer arrived and some adjacent paddocks were dropped off, the rotation was narrowed down to a graze every 10 ½ days. “It is about four inches high when we got back to it,” Mr Bartz said. The area was being grazed by 120 cows which have performed well on the feed throughout the year. Mr Bartz said he was impressed with the way the Icon and Turbo held on through the summer months and expected both options would be able to provide valuable feed right through until Christmas. He said he tried a few different ryegrass varieties each year and had been impressed with Icon in its first year on the property. “It has a bit broader leaf than Crusader. 

I think the two of them are on a par.” Pasture options on the property are expected to produce a bulk of feed throughout the year and are watered and fertilised to achieve this goal. “You’ve got to plant it to make a living,” Mr Bartz said.  “Ryegrass has to stand up to your terms and conditions as to how you feed it.” He said the season was relatively dry during the winter so there was not the benefit of rainfall to assist with the crop growth. The inclusion of Turbo clover has been an important component of the success of the ryegrass in recent seasons. “You need to plant the Turbo with it,” he said.  “You really get the benefit out of it.” Generally the Turbo is mixed with the ryegrass for sowing with one bag of clover for five bags of ryegrass, with the blend then broadcast out at approximately 50 kilograms per hectare. “You see the benefit of the Turbo right the way through the season,” Mr Bartz said.  “It grows as quick as the ryegrass.  When you look at the paddock you see the clover.” He said the mix of Icon and Turbo had gone very well and provided valuable feed for many months of the year.

Russell Bartz, of Lowood, in the Lockyer Valley of Queensland

Bruce TownsonSeed Distributors products performing well on Bathurst property
- Icon Diploid Italian Ryegrass

A need to look at a grass pasture option to help clean up broadleaf weeds led to a comparison of Seed Distributors products by Bruce Townson, of Dunns Plains, south of Bathurst in NSW. Mr Townson was looking for a shortterm rotation option and compared equal areas of Perun festulolium, Icon diploid ryegrass and Jeanne tetraploid Italian ryegrass.

The three options were sown at a rate of 20 kilograms per hectare in May of 2010 and have produced excellent quantity and quality of forage in the period since. Mr Townson said sheep had grazed the paddock regularly during that time and the grasses had also been baled for silage in November of 2011. He said it was interesting to compare the different products under the conditions of the past two seasons. Jeanne tetraploid, with its high sugar content, was readily accepted by the stock and was favoured slightly to the other two by the grazing animals.

Perun and Icon were not far behind. Icon did not display the height of the other two, but had extremely high density which aided in outcompeting weed competition. The Perun continued to impress with dry matter production comparable to its Italian ryegrass partners. Bruce initially planned to take out the paddock at the end of December but elected to continue the growth while the amount of quality feed was still being produced.

Bruce Townson, of Dunns Plains, south of Bathurst in NSW

James LyneJames Lyne - Icon Diploid Italian Ryegrass

A late-planted ryegrass-based pasture performed particularly well under trying conditions on the Orford Wells Dairy at Orford in the western Districts of Victoria.  Farm manager James Lyne of the Orford Wells Dairy property said he planted a blend of varieties as a trial into a six hectare paddock in the middle of June. The blend was made up of Icon diploid Italian ryegrass at 20 kilograms per hectare, Subzero hybrid forage brassica at 3 kilograms per hectare and Rajah diploid red clover and Enduro balansa clover at 2 kilograms per hectare. Mr Lyne said it was sown into conditions that were very wet and the area was unable to be grazed until mid-September. Despite the early set-back the area was grazed twice by the dairy cows and with an estimated 1.5 tonnes of utilised dry matter consumed each time. 

After the initial grazings the paddock was cut twice for silage with an estimated yield of 5 dry matter tonnes per hectare and then grazed a further two times towards the end of the year. An estimated yield of more than 9 utilised dry matter tonnes per hectare was achieved in an excellent result in a late planting and very wet season. Mr Lynn said he was looking forward to planting the same blend next season although he would look at getting it in much earlier.  He said a March sowing time would allow the Subzero brassica to produce feed through the winter and the Icon ryegrass to come into its own during Spring. The Icon variety is a diplopid type and showed good tolerance to the very wet conditions. It also recovered very quickly from grazing and silage and allowed multiple feed options over the time.

James Lyne, Orford VIC

Reiner Van ZylIcon Ryegrass performing in intensive dairy system - Icon Diploid Italian Ryegrass

The addition of Icon Diploid Italian ryegrass has provided a great option for Reiner and Ann Van Zyl, at Yambuk, in south-west Victoria. Mr Van Zyl said the Icon ryegrass was planted into four 8 hectare blocks during autumn with two of the blocks able to be irrigated and the other two grown as dryland options. He said 550 dairy cows grazed the 8 hectare paddock lightly eight weeks after planting and after that it was brought into a regular feed rotation. The eight hectare paddocks were grazed as part of a 16 day rotation and split in half so the cattle could access four hectares on the first day and the remaining four hectares on the second. “Cows were taking the Icon down quite nicely. We were very happy with it,” Mr Van Zyl said.

He said the Icon paddocks had approximately 3500 kilograms per hectare in the paddock prior to the cows being introduced and the stock grazed it down to leave approximately 2000 kilograms per hectare. “It has then been growing at more than 80 kilograms per day (per hectare).” The benefits of the Icon ryegrass were most evident in late spring and summer with the excellent growth rates over that time. “It was really motoring,” Mr Van Zyl said. He said a New Zealand colleague was very excited about the performance of the Icon ryegrass when he inspected it during the spring. “It will be interesting to see where it goes from here,” he said. Moisture levels in the paddocks were monitored and the area irrigated and fertilised accordingly.

The dryland paddocks were also treated with effluent and urea as required. It was the second year Icon ryegrass had been grown on the property and it survived through a torrid summer of very wet conditions in early 2011. Some of the paddocks were under water and the ryegrass showed great stress tolerance by surviving and then flourishing under the extreme conditions. In its second year of production the Icon ryegrass maintained its vigour, density and feed quality and has come back well from an intensive grazing pressure. The use of annuals and bi-annual ryegrass species has allowed the dairy farm to meet and achieve the forecasted feed budgets they have set.

Reiner Van Zyl - Yambuk VIC

Jason NugentIcon Ryegrass performs at Gympie - Icon Diploid Italian Ryegrass

Icon ryegrass produced excellent feed over a long period on the Nugent Family Farm at Gympie, in Queensland last season. Jason Nugent said the Icon diploid Italian ryegrass was recommended by his merchandise store. “I like to give something new a go every year to see if it would work better that what I’ve been using,” he said. The property is predominantly Kikuyu based pastures which are oversown with annual ryegrasses each autumn to produce grazing options for the dairy cows. Mr Nugent said the Icon was soon part of a set rotation with other ryegrasses and was grazed every 22 days across the winter and every 17 to 18 days over the summer. “Icon did very well. It was a good season for grazing and we were also able to cut 20 bales of silage off one strip in late August.” Other ryegrasses grown on the property included Nourish, Robust and Maverick and Mr Nugent said there was a noticeable difference in milk production when the dairy cows were grazing different species.

The farm milks 250 cows and milk production dropped by 250 litres per day when the cows were grazing on Robust or Maverick. Mr Nugent said milk production would increase by that amount as soon as the dairy cows went back onto the Icon ryegrass area. “I found it a perfect ryegrass,” he said. “It may even have been a touch in front of Nourish. It was equally as good and was also a couple of weeks later to mature. “We were able to maximise the profitability of the plant.” The Icon area was still being grazed in late November and into December and was a much better quality ryegrass option than traditional Tetila ryegrass which is also planted in the area. Icon was mixed with plantain and sown at a rate of 55 kilograms per hectare into a Kikuyu paddock that had been lightly disced. The seed was broadcast with a Vicon spreader and then harrowed into the area. Mr Nugent also planted Sardi Persian clover on the property last year and was impressed at its performance. Sardi Persian provided some winter production and really hit it’s straps in spring. An Icon and Sardi Persian mix will be planted on the property next season.

Jason Nugent, Gympie QLD
Diplex Italian Ryegrass Farmer's Feedback

David GordonDavid Gordon - Diplex Italian Ryegrass

Diplex Italian ryegrass was sown last season with the winter active L90 lucerne variety to provide grazing opportunities through the winter months. It was planted and watered once and grazed three times by dairy cows through the cooler months.

David Gordon, Undera, Victoria
Jeanne Tetraploid Italian Ryegrass Farmer's Feedback

John BrianJeanne provides feed for longer at Undera - Jeanne Tetraploid Italian Ryegrass

Jeanne ryegrass provided quality feed for longer in the season on the property of John Brian, at Undera, north-west of Shepparton in the Goulburn Valley of Victoria. Mr Brian planted Jeanne tetraploid Italian ryegrass in March last year and was still getting feed off the forage well into summer. He said its performance was similar to Feast 2 in the winter time and Jeanne was able to be utilised for a bit longer at the end of the year. The ryegrass was planted into sub clover at a rate of 22 kilogram per hectare and was quickly part of the rotation with a range of other ryegrass options. During winter dairy cows were fed on the Jeanne approximately every 20 days with the ryegrass coming back well after each grazing. Paddocks of the feed varied in size with the larger paddocks fenced off to allow the cows to better utilise the area. “We grazed it through until it was shut up in August and then took a decent silage cut off it,” Mr Brian said. He said the cows milked well on both grazed ryegrass and round bale silage. After the silage was harvested Jeanne was allowed to regrow and continued to produce good quality forage through late spring and early summer. “It got even better after the silage was taken off,” Mr Brian said. “It bulked out a bit.”

The crop was watered twice after the silage cut and continued to be grazed by dry cows into December. Mr Brian said some 70 percent of the cows calved in August with the remainder of the herd in calving in March. The ryegrass provides good feed from April through to November and so the calving is timed to take advantage of the available forage. In a typical season the ryegrass paddocks are watered once or twice in the autumn and then rainfall is relied upon to keep the forage going through the winter time.

John Brian, Shepparton VIC
Jeta Hybrid Tetraploid Long Rotation Ryegrass Farmer's Feedback

Merv Koch - Jeta Hybrid Tetraploid Long Rotation Ryegrass

The initial year of Jeta Hybrid Tetraploid Long Rotation Ryegrass has impressed milk producer Merv Koch, at Tongala, in the Goulburn Valley of Victoria. Mr Koch established the Jeta ryegrass stand in autumn of 2012 with the intention of using it as a long-term option for grazing dairy cows. The initial impressions of the variety were very positive with an excellent establishment. “It was out of the ground well and produced a dark, green colour,” Mr Koch said.  “It was nice and leafy through winter and spring.” Mr Koch said the hybrid vigour demonstrated by Jeta was quite impressive and it competed well with Italian and even some annual ryegrasses which were also grown on the property. “I’m impressed with the hybrids.  They seem to be keeping up with the others.  Get them in early and they compete well.  They seem to be able to be grazed right through the winter.” “I’m really happy with how it was tillering.  It tillered out really well.  I’m a bit excited about it.”

The Jeta was planted to a 1.7 hectare bay and was rotationally grazed by a herd of approximately 500 cows for a 12 hour period across winter, spring and summer. During late spring the herd grazed the area every 23 to 24 days. Jeta was sown in early April at a rate of 25 kilograms per hectare and is expected to perform right through the summer until autumn. “I’m really interested to see how it performs across the board and into the autumn,” Mr Koch said.  “It is not letting us down at all.” Over the summer period millet and some lucerne will be grown for feed at that time of year, although the Jeta ryegrass will be able to be utilised when needed. “It has the potential to give us feed through the summer,” Mr Koch said.

Merv Koch, of Tongala, in the Goulburn Valley of Victoria
Optima Tetraploid Perennial Ryegrass Farmer's Feedback

John MartinGeorge Innes - Optima Tetraploid Perennial Ryegrass

Permanent ryegrass options have been introduced to the “Kaladbro” property at Strathbogie, in the Western Districts of Victoria, to improve pasture paddocks and to take advantage of the wet conditions over autumn and winter. George Innes, of “Kaladbro”, said they planted approximately 70 hectares of ryegrass in May of 2012 which consisted of Optima Tetraploid Perennial ryegrass, Impact Diploid Long Rotation ryegrass and Valley Diploid Perennial ryegrass. All of the grasses were sown at a rate of between 22 and 23 kilograms per hectare and 100 kilograms per hectare of DAP with the Valley ryegrass aimed at the sandier country and the other two at the heavier soil types. The paddock had previously grown poor annual options and the introduction of the perennial ryegrasses was designed to increase production and help alleviate the water logging issues the property could suffer during winter. Mr Innes said wet autumn and winter conditions in the past had meant areas of the farm could not be accessed so the perennial option was designed to alleviate this. “The profile fills up and we needed something to utilise the water and use it up.” He said the seasons in south-west Victoria had changed dramatically in the last ten years and were predominantly winter rainfall with a shorter period of spring.

With this in mind, pasture options were being considered to make the most of the expected rainfall periods. He said last season’s plant in May was later than normal (March would be ideal) but still provided the opportunity of grazing and silage throughout the year. The area was grazed by lambs at the end of July and was dressed with urea shortly afterwards. It then provided another two to three grazing options prior to being locked up and harvested for hay and silage during October. The ryegrass produced 3.5 to 4 dry matter tonnes per hectare and was then lightly grazed by cattle leading into the summer period. Cattle tended to feed off the seed heads and not be as damaging to the base of the plant so were a better option at that time of year. “We want to make sure that it gets through the summer,” Mr Innes said. He said the soil temperature could get very hot during the summer months with much of the profile having a base of clay which varied in depth across the area There was not a lot of difference between the various ryegrass options on the property, with each performing well under the conditions of the year. It is hoped they will take advantage of autumn rainfall and provide early sheep feed and options throughout winter and spring.

George Innes, of “Kaladbro”, Strathbogie, in the Western Districts of Victoria

John MartinJohn Martin - Optima Tetraploid Perennial Ryegrass

Optima tetraploid perennial ryegrass is used as an alternative to continually having to sow annual ryegrasses. “We’ve had great success with Optima,” Mr Martin said. “It is surviving well with good pasture management at the beginning of summer.”

John Martin, Irrewarra, Victoria

Dale SerongDale Serong - Optima Tetraploid Perennial Ryegrass

As part of Dale Serong’s pasture renovation program he uses Optima Perennial Ryegrass for the base of his permanent pastures. Mr Serong said the Optima ryegrass could then be topped up every two years or when needed with 20 kilograms per hectare of Diplex ryegrass directly drilled into the stand. He said the Optima has responded well to the season and provided valuable feed. The mix of ryegrass and other pasture varieties were chosen to suit the different paddocks and traditional feed gap periods. Silage is harvested at times of the year when there is too much feed for grazing and is then stored in a bunker as round bales to be used at various stages throughout the year.

Dale Serong, Labertouche, Victoria
Ryegrass Mix Farmer's Feedback

Tim HumphriesRyegrass Mix producing high quality silage

A mix of perennial ryegrass species has produced the best quality silage of the last few years on the property of Tim Humphries, at Tongala, in northern Victoria. Mr Humphries said they put in 40 hectares of Impact and Tomson as perennial ryegrass options for both grazing and silage. “It has gone superbly,” he said. “It tillered up and had really good density in the first six months. It looked really good going into summer.” The mix was cut for silage and produced ME of 12 percent and protein at 16 percent. NDF was recorded at 28 percent, digestibility at 80.1 and the silage had a moisture content of 59 percent. “That’s about the best quality feed we’ve cut in the last few years,” Mr Humphries said.

The perennial ryegrasses are part of a ryegrass pasture enterprise that also includes annual options. Mr Humphries said he planted Perun festulolium as an annual option in May, 2010 and was pleasantly surprised when it provided feed over a two year period. “We thought we’d get one season but it persisted well through the summer and thickened up and stooled out.” He said the performance of Perun was even more impressive considering the locust damage sustained on the pasture in December. “The locusts took it out in December but we watered it up and added nitrogen and it came back well.

It was superb during the summer.” In contrast, a mix of annual diploid and teraploid ryegrasses in another paddock on the property did not create the same amount of feed and, as expected, lasted for just the one season. Mr Humphries said the Perun was really good through the autumn and winter of 2011. “It copped a huge amount of traffic because we went to it when it got wet in the winter.” The pastures get irrigated from August through to March and also received an application of nitrogen after each grazing. There are 22 hectares of Perun festulolium divided into 11 paddocks which form part of the overall grazing rotation. “We might get four feeds off each paddock but it depends on the rotation,” Mr Humphries said. During the winter, the pastures are grazed every 60 days but come into an 18 day rotation in the summer.
Tim Humphries, Tongala VIC

Karl ThompsonNew pastures showing promise at Lake Bonney

A mix of pastures species has performed well in a grass-based feed program on the property of Karl Thompson, of Lake Bonney, in the south east of South Australia. Mr Thompson put in a pasture mix which included Optima tetraploid perennial ryegrass, Jumbo white clover and strawberry clover in late October 2010. He said they had three irrigation pivots on the property and renewed half a pivot every six years, with the pastures expected to produce and last over that time. There are also dryland areas of the property which are generally planted with annual ryegrass options each season.

Optima Tetraploid Perennial Ryegrass was chosen to put under the pivot because of its ability to persist for a long time and still maintain high production and feed value. The addition of Jumbo white clover to the mix was also important as it has good persistence and will produce excellent yields over the summer period and complements the ryegrass well. Mr Thompson sowed the mix at 40 kilograms per hectare under a pivot. The pivot has a range of soil types and depth with the blend establishing well over the summer period. The dairy cows were kept off the newly planted pasture for the first ten weeks and then initially grazed the area in February. “We have a lot of older pastures and you definitely see the difference between old and new,” he said.

The pasture was soon a full part of the rotation and was being grazed every 15 days through the spring and summer periods. “It gave us good feed from autumn through to summer,” he said. The dairy cows were able to gaze the paddock when there was approximately 3000 kg/ha of dry matter available and took the feed down to approximately 1800 kg/ha of residual dry matter. By leaving some of the forage in the paddock it allowed for a quicker recovery of the pasture and a more intensive rotational program.

Karl Thompson, Lake Bonney SA
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