Farmer's Feedback
SOWsmart Autumn Blends
Farmer's Feedback
Seed Distributors - Science based pasture®
SOWsmart Autumn Blends
Farmer's Feedback

Chris Collins - Optima, Origin, Martin 2, Zulumax, Renegage, Hyfa and Clare 2

A pasture mix consisting of ryegrass, fescues and clovers produced excellent grazing and hay options last season on the Collins property at Wheeo, west of Crookwell, in the Southern Tablelands region of New South Wales. Chris Collins said he decided to put the pasture mix in when his father went on holidays to see if it would grow well on the property and was pleased with the results. The two hectare paddock is located near the house and was planted to the pasture mix on March 23. Included in the mix were Optima ryegrass, Origin and Martin 2 Fescue, Zulumax Arrowleaf Clover, Renegade Red Clover, Hyfa White Clover and Clare 2 Arrowleaf Clover. Mr Collins said he decided to put in the range of different species to take advantage of their different growth patterns throughout the year. “We let it establish and then crash grazed it with a mob of 200 head,” he said.  “It never looked like it would stop growing. It bounded away after that.

He said the paddock was slashed for weed control during spring but continued to grow and they were able to take a cut of hay off it in mid-November. Some 25 4 foot by 4 foot hay bales were taken from the paddock with the late hay cut and it was then allowed to recover through the summer period. “When it came back the clovers were between 18 inches and two foot in height.” The season dried off late so the hay cut was an excellent option. Mr Collins said it was interesting to see how the different species complemented each other through the year, with the ryegrass and fescue providing good early growth and the range of clovers hitting their straps during spring time. The paddock also took out first place in the inaugural Crookwell Show Society Pasture Competition for Best New Pasture. “It was impressive for the country,” Mr Collins said. The soil is a light granite type and Mr Collins had been working for a number of seasons to get it ready for the pasture mix. Boron had been included in the fertiliser to address a deficiency and lime had also been added to make the pH more suitable. The previous crop had been oats which was ploughed in during that season.  Mr Collins said the plan was to allow the pasture to regenerate over summer and provide additional grazing through the next winter and also the option of a hay cut during spring.

Chris Collins, from Wheeo, on the Southern Tablelands of New South Wales

Tyson Mickam - Australis, Ambassador and Balance Chicory

A blend of grasses and legumes have provided good grazing options through much of the year on the property of Tyson Mickan, at Yallunda Flat, on the lower Eyre Peninsula of South Australia. The blend of Australis phalaris, Ambassador cocksfoot, Balance chicory and Frontier Balansa clover was first planted in late May 2011 and produced excellent feed through the spring. Mr Mickan said small paddocks around the house and silos were used for the mix, with the aim of feeding rams across the summer and lambing down on during the winter months. He said historically the paddocks grew good clover, but also had a lot of barley grass so they were looking for an option to produce more feed and reduce the weed pressure. High stocking rates were used when the pasture was established, and the areas grazed down to very little. “The paddocks get a hard time over winter,” Mr Mickan said.  “We run high stocking rates and treat it like a clover paddock.  The perennials seem to be tough enough to come back with spring or summer rain.” “By the end of summer the paddocks are very bare and there is no barley grass.

We seem to be getting on top of it.” He said the sheep tended to target the grasses and would reach down through the clover and graze them through the year. Approximately 20 hectares of the blend will be planted in 2013 and will include ML99 lucerne, Balance chicory, of Australis phalaris and Ambassador cocksfoot. Mr Mickan said other options such as Hatrik clover and Cavalier spineless burr medic could be drilled into the existing pasture in its second year as another forage option. He said paddock preparation was important to ensure a good establishment and longevity of the pasture, with the areas spray topped and grazed hard in preparation for planting. The current paddocks on the property are utilised differently, with one set up for lambing with good tree cover and relatively flat areas. Lambs graze the area through the winter. The second and third paddocks are designed for the rams, with the stock rotated from one to the other throughout the time. Mr Mickan said they waited until the feed was about three inches high and then transferred the stock to it.” The ram areas do have some salinity and water logging issues in the lower parts of the paddock, with the grasses in the blend used to dry the ground up and make it more productive.

Tyson Mickam, of Yallunda Flat on the lower Eyre Peninsula

Gary Kadwell - Turbo, Ovaflow, Jumbo, Origin and Optima

A pasture put in as a long term option has been highly productive in its first two years on the property of Gary Kadwell, at Grabben Gullen, south-west of Crookwell on the Southern Tablelands of New South Wales. Mr Kadwell sowed ten hectares of pasture in March of 2011, with the mix consisting of Turbo Persian Clover, Ovaflow Sub Clover, Jumbo White Clover, Origin Fescue, Optima Ryegrass and Perun Festulolium. He said the mix worked well with the ryegrass and, festulolium and fescue producing good early feed and the clovers really coming into their own during the spring and summer months. Generally the ryegrass part of the mix had been dominant early although Mr Kadwell said the fescue component could come into its own if the season suited. “Sometimes the ryegrasses are better and sometimes the fescues are better,” he said. During the first season the paddock was cut for hay, with some 3000 small square bales and 25 4 foot by 4 foot round bales cut off the forage. The hay took out first place in the Crookwell Show Competition Best Hay or Silage division. This year some 250 ewes lambed down on the pasture with each producing twins that did very well on the feed. Mr Kadwell said they scanned the ewes and put those that were having twins out to the paddock.

He said they aimed at between 150 to 160 lambing percentage each season, with twins a large part of the operation and the feed important to bring them through to maturity. The pasture fed the lambs up to the sucker stage and the ewes also did well on the feed. “To pull off that much feed it is really doing the job,” Mr Kadwell said. After the ewes and lambs were taken from the paddock, it was slashed down to a height of six inches and allowed to recover before being cut for hay in mid-November. Mr Kadwell said he estimated the hay cut and between 250 and 300 big square bales of good density. He said the pasture mix didn’t get overly high but produced a great amount of bulk which assisted in creating the excellent yields. The paddock is not irrigated, although it is well supplied with nutrition to ensure it produces the maximum amount of forage across the season. Fertiliser is applied after the hay cut and also during the autumn months. Mr Kadwell said the mix was working particularly well with different species showing their dominance in areas of the paddock that may have varied soil types. While the region is predominantly winter rainfall, there has been a higher amount of summer rain in recent seasons, which had suited some species. “The white clover is really shining with the summer rainfall,” Mr Kadwell said. It is envisaged the pasture mix will provide at least five to six years of production on the property.

Gary Kadwell, at Grabben Gullen, south-west of Crookwell on the Southern Tablelands of New South Wale

Clayton Alley - Pasture Blend

A blend of multiple pasture types has produced a balanced feed on the dairy property of Clayton Alley, at Forbes in the central west region of New South Wales. Mr Alley said his aim was to farm the property biologically and used a range of different species in a blend to achieve this. Included in various paddocks throughout the farm were Balance chicory, Ranger plantain, ML99 Multileaf lucerne, Renegade red clover, Icon ryegrass and Jeta ryegrass. The herbs, plantain and chicory, were introduced to the blends as part of the biological push, and have been a key to the success of the program. “The cows respond really well to the herbs,” Mr Alley said. “We have two paddocks with no plantain and clover which we will top up this year. The cows don’t seem to do as well without them.” He said plantain and chicory complement each other really well. “When one stops the other one starts,” he said. The Ranger plantain is providing feed throughout the winter and spring months, and then is replaced by the Balance chicory in summer and early autumn.

Mr Alley said lucerne is the ultimate feed on the property and also added nitrogen to the soil, although the inclusion of clover into the blend meant even more nitrogen was added and could be utilised by the other species. He said fertiliser was not added to the paddocks at all, with the nutrition coming from residual from a previous tomato enterprise and the nitrogen fixed by the legumes. “We use effluent, which is the only source of fertiliser, and we are certainly getting the advantage of the legumes in the rotation. Ryegrass is used because it produces a bulk of feed and the cows milk well on it. Both the Icon and Jeta ryegrasses hung on well through the spring and were still producing through to December, as the more summer active cultivars in the pasture blend were hitting their straps. Mr Alley said there are a lot of people in the dairy industry looking to blends as an option going forward. He said the root depth and structure also help the soil. Approximately 70 percent of the feed requirements on the property are pasture-based and taken directly out of the paddock.

Clayton Alley, of Forbes, NSW

Travis MusterTravis Muster - Pasture Blend a great option in variable paddock

A pasture blend that included clover, sub clovers and medic has performed well in a paddock with varied soil types on the property of Travis, Barry and Robyn Muster at Freeling, north of Adelaide in South Australia. Travis Muster planted a blend that included Enduro Balansa Clover, Hatrik Sub Clover, Clare 2 Sub Clover and Cavalier Spineless Burr Medic in the second week of May. He said each species performed better on different soil types and so the variation over a 90 hectare paddock meant that there was good production throughout. “Enduro seemed to perform particularly well in patches,” he said.

The pasture mix was planted predominantly to provide a hay option during spring and the paddock was cut for hay in late September and early October. Mr Muster said they predominantly made big square bales from the area, although some smaller square and round hay bales were also harvested to fill a variety of markets. He said the small squares went to fodder stores, the rolls to a nearby feedlot and many of the big square bales were purchased by Laukes for the production of rabbit pellets. “Overall it was very good,” he said. “It seemed to bale up well. The hay went well into the different markets. If you can get the conditions right you can get a good bale and a good price for it.” A rate of 20 kilograms per hectare was used to sow the blend, with the mix of legumes expected to provide good nitrogen and a handy break leading into future crops. The sown date in May meant it was one of the first paddocks planted on the property and just after the opening rain. This allowed the legumes to take full advantage of the season and produce as much yield as possible during the spring hay cut.

Travis Muster, Freeling SA
SOWsmart Bloat Fighter
Farmer's Feedback

Dennis Power - Bloat Fighter Blend

The Bloat Fighter Blend from Seed Distributors has been used successfully on the properties of Dennis Power, at Gunnedah, in New South Wales. Mr Power said they have been using the blend for three to four years and found it an excellent feed across many months of the year. Bloat Fighter is a blend of ML99 Multileaf lucerne, Balance chicory and Zulumax arrowleaf clover. It has been specifically designed to minimise the risk of bloat. “We haven’t had any problems with bloat with it at all,” Mr Power said. He said the blend was put into many paddocks across the properties and was used for cattle feed for cows and calves and also weaners. “We get good feed off it for eight to nine months of the year,” he said. “It is really only the frosty months that we are not getting feed off it.” A feed option that will produce forage over a large number of months is particularly important for the enterprise which produces in excess of 8000 calves per year and spreads calving across a number of periods. “You need to have decent feed options right the way through,” Mr Power said.

He said calves produced on more northern properties are brought down as weaners and go directly onto the Bloat Fighter Blend forage. He said they will push them out to weights of 350 to 380 kilograms each before being transferred to a feedlot enterprise or sold. Cows and calves also feed on the forage. Mr Power said the 2012 season was quite difficult, although the Bloat Fighter Blend established well in the autumn and then had to endure many months without rainfall. He said that, despite the dry conditions, the Bloat Fighter Blend continued to persist and wait for a rainfall event. Much of the blend is planted to lighter soil types on the edge of the Liverpool Plains. “Bloat Fighter suits the lighter country really well,” Mr Power said. He said a real bonus with the feed on the lighter country is the way it responds to any rainfall event. “If you get 20 or 30mm of rain you get feed very quickly.” Much of the country sown down to Bloat Fighter had previously been continuously cropped and, as a result, had depleted the soil type. “We wanted to get something back into those areas to pick the soils up,” Mr Power said. He said the tap root of the lucerne provided an ideal opportunity to get down into the soil profile and ultimately improve the structure.

Dennis Power, of Gunnedah, NSW
SOWsmart Tropical Blends
Farmer's Feedback

Rod Harris - Oversow Blend

A trial of tropical legume blends in higher altitude country has looked promising on a Dalmara Pastoral Company property, near Blackville, on the edge of the Liverpool Plains in central New South Wales. Manager, Rod Harris said the country consisted primarily of red grass and northern grass and so the decision was made to put down a 10 hectare block trial of legumes. The Seed Distributors SowSmart Heavy Soils Tropical Legume Oversow Blend includes a range of medics and clovers and has been designed for oversowing of native grasses in heavy soils. Mr Harris said they broadcast the seed and some fertiliser across the area from the back of a spreader and then introduced 100 cows and calves to help trample the area and push the seed into the ground. “They worked it in although we have not had a lot of rain since. I think it is in autumn that we will really see the benefit.” He said the seed germinated and was still holding on well despite the tougher conditions of spring and early summer. “We are definitely going to see a change in the autumn,” he said.

The property had been grazed hard by sheep over many years and so legumes were being introduced across the native grass pastures to help with nitrogen fixation, improve soil structure and provide feed options at different times of the year. It was not feasible to direct-drill the seed into the country, so the broadcast option was the best way forward and had demonstrated it could work despite the dry conditions. Mr Harris said the success of the trial could lead to a similar seeding of 1800 acres on the property. He said the aim was to produce a lot more growth on the property and run more breeders.

Rod Harris, of Dalmara Pastoral Company, at Blackville, NSW

Ian McDouall - Oversow Blend

A legume blend of medics and clovers has been introduced to tropical grass pastures to fill the winter feed gap on the Dunbeacon Shorthorn Stud property, in the Upper Horton Valley, in northern New South Wales. Stud owner, Ian McDouall, said they were transitioning some of the native country on the property to tropical grasses that included Gatton Panic, Bambatsi Panic, Premier Digit and Rhodes grass. He said the tropical blends were providing better quality feed and very fast regrowth after rain events, but did tend to shut sown from April through to September. Last season, he decided to put out a mixture of legumes in the form of the Seed Distributors SowSmart Heavy Soils Tropical Legume Oversow Blend. The blend included medics and clovers and was broadcast out from the front of a 35 foot slasher into the tropical grass country, in April of 2012. Eighty kilograms of seed was able to be stored in the spreader, and it was set to send the seed out at a rate of 8 kilograms per hectare as the slasher cut the grasses down and opened the area up.

Mr McDouall said the country was predominantly summer rainfall and often they would enter autumn and winter with a large amount of dry feed. “We are trying to put some quality into the dry feed with the legumes and use them to put some nitrogen in the ground in the spring,” he said. Normally, the grasses are top-dressed with sulphate of ammonia or urea in the spring, so the ability of the legumes to fix nitrogen is certainly an asset. In future years, a disc seeder will also be considered to place the seed directly into the soil and provide better germination results per kilogram planted. Mr McDouall said they had traditionally grown a lot of sub clovers on the property with good success, however the years of dry conditions had depleted the seed bed. Options such as Cavalier spineless burr medic, were prolific setters of seed so could assist in returning a legume to the country on a more permanent basis.

Ian McDouall, of Dunbeacon Shorthorn Stud in the Upper Horton Valley, NSW
SOWsmart Winter Max
Farmer's Feedback

Conochie family - Winter Max

A range of SowSmart blend options provided quality feed on the Conochie family farm at Kalbar, in the Fassifern Valley of southern Queensland. Stuart Conochie said they sodseeded the blends, which consist primarily of proprietary ryegrass and clover, into old lucerne paddocks. Included in the blends were SowSmart Winter Max, SowSmart Winter Express and SowSmart Winter Feed. The intention of the ryegrass was to provide feed options over winter and spring and enough growth so the paddocks wouldn’t pug up if they needed to graze the area during very wet conditions. Mr Conochie said the clovers were also an important part of the blend and tended to be a factor late in the season as a grazing option and also to add quality to the silage mix. The initial blend was sown into a lucerne stand at the end of March and the remaining areas in the middle of April.

Lucerne had been grazed down or mowed prior to seeding and then the ryegrass and clover blend received a light grazing approximately five weeks after planting. At this stage the cows graze the lucerne and also trim the ryegrass which then encourages it to stool out. Fertiliser is then applied to the area and it is ready to be part of the regular grazing rotation on the property. Mr Conochie said the SowSmart pastures were grown under a centre pivot with each grazing strip approximately 75 metres wide and consisted of 2.5 acres. Initially a 28 days rotation was used with the dairy cows grazing half of the area during the day. During the spring period the rotation was cut down once to every 17 days and some of the area was locked up and cut as round bale silage. “It made beautiful silage,” Mr Conochie said. He said cows on the property calved throughout the year and the SowSmart grazing options helped reach higher milk targets than the previous year. “The milk peaked at half a litre to a litre higher than last year,” he said. Seasonal conditions for the year were not that favourable with very little rainfall recorded from June through to December. Irrigation water was utilised after each grazing and the areas were also well fertilised. Mr Concohie said all three pasture blends performed well with the Winter Max providing grazing options into December.

Conochie family farm at Kalbar, QLD
SOWsmart Winter Express
Farmer's Feedback

Brenton Tink - SOWSmart Winter Express Blend

Mr Tink planted two paddocks of SowSmart Winter Express after oats and provided an excellent mix of pasture varieties for grazing and hay production. “Some of it has already been fed in bales to weaned lambs. They really liked it.” Just seven inches of in-crop rainfall was received during the season which was well below average. Mr Tink said.The use of the Winter Express blend as a hay option also helped reduce the amount of Wimmera ryegrass in the paddocks. By cutting the crop and following it with an intensive graze the Wimmera ryegrass is not given an option to set seed and will help reduce numbers in the following years.

Brenton Tink, Bordertown, SA

DavidSOWSmart Winter Express Blend for intensive paddock usage
SOWSmart Winter Express

David Bentley of Coldstream in Victoria used Sow Smart Winter Express for grazing, silage and hay. A custom blend mix of ryegrasses, and clovers has allowed David Bentley of Coldstream in Victoria to intensively utilise the paddocks through late autumn and winter. Mr Bentley direct-drilled SowSmart Winter Express into existing pastures in late March last season at seeding rates between 20 and 25 kilograms per hectare. “The permanent pastures were struggling so I thought I’d top it up with a bit of Winter Express,” Mr Bentley said. Winter Express was a blend of Tetrone and Rocket annual Italian ryegrasses, Goldstrike Turbo Persian Clover and Goldstrike Alexandria Berseem Clover. Mr Bentley said the ryegrasses grew vigorously early and were able to be grazed by cattle from the end of April. “The ryegrasses showed up early and the clovers came through at the end,” he said.

Strip grazing is implemented to make the most of the available feed and also allow the pasture to recover and regrow. Two of the paddocks were subsequently cut for hay with the remaining sections taken for silage to feed the beef cattle. The hay and silage produced on the property is used through the summer, autumn and early winter at a time where the paddocks are establishing new growth. Mr Bentley said the paddocks held on well and responded well after rain in the early summer period to continue to provide feed. Another paddock on the property was sown down to Outback oats and Goldstrike L56 lucerne into an area that had contained forage sorghum the previous summer. Oats were direct drilled at a rate of 80 kilograms per hectare with the lucerne then cross sown at between 6 and 8 kilograms per hectare. Lucerne was chosen to provide a feed option through the summer months after the oats crop had finished. The Outback oats were taken for silage during the spring. Mr Bentley said he would see how the lucerne performed over the summer period, although there was an option to irrigate the stand if necessary. The SowSmart paddocks will be assessed for their regrowth potential at the start of the next season and further seed may be direct-drilled to bulk it up again. “We like to work it pretty hard,” Mr Bentley said.

David Bentley of Coldstream in Victoria

Ralph BillingRalph Billing - SOWSmart Winter Express & SowSmart HDL Blend

Ralph Billing of Marrar, in southern NSW, has a SowSmart blend of pasture species trialled on the property last season. A background in dairying and a need to identify pasture species suited to the area led Ralph Billing, at Marrar in southern New South Wales, to plant a number of pasture blends on the property last season. Mr Billing said there was a need look at varieties that were best adapted to the property, so he planted the Seed Distributors products SowSmart Winter Express and SowSmart HDL Blend. The Winter Express is predominately made up of two ryegrass varieties, although 30 percent of the blend consists of Persian and Berseem clovers. HDL Blend contains five different types of clover species and can be used as a grazing option, paddock break and a way of contributing nitrogen back into the soil. Mr Billing said the weedy nature of the paddocks meant the blends were not sown until after a knockdown herbicide was applied following the late-April break.

He said the ryegrass component (made up of Tetrone Annual Italian Ryegrass and Rocket Annual Italian Ryegrass) of the Winter Express Blend grew really well early in the season and provided excellent grazing. The intention with the paddock was to lock it up for silage for beef cattle, however the poor finish to the season and a very hot spell meant that wasn’t possible. Eventually the sheep were re-introduced to the paddock to clean up the regrowth. Mr Billing said they had used Diploid-type ryegrasses with good success while on the dairy farm. He was interested to see the performance of tetraploid ryegrasses such as Tetrone and Rocket on the property. Tetraploid ryegrasses have double the amount of chromosomes (28) compared to diploid ryegrasses (which have 14 chromosomes). The increased amount of chromosomes typically lead to better tillering, faster growth, larger leaf size, higher moisture and better carbohydrate content. “If you could sow in late March or early April and control the weeds I think the ryegrass would do quite well,” Mr Billing said.

The clover-based HDL blend was trialled in two paddocks and emerged well but ran out of moisture later in the season. “I’m hope it will set seed so we can have the feed for next year,” Mr Billing said. He said the dairy background provided a few ideas in managing pasture on country which was a combination of cropping and pasture. “We are mixed farming here, with an orientation towards grazing, rather than growing crops,” he said. Some dairying techniques such as silage have been implemented with success on the property. Mr Billing said the dry conditions over much of the decade had made it very difficult to establish a perennial pasture. He said trials on the property and in the area were important to determine what species are well adapted. Last season Seed Distributors planted a forage demonstration evaluation site on a nearby farm with the full range of varieties. Some cereal varieties were also trialled on the Billing property. Mr Billing said the new Moby forage barley variety was impressive with the way it jumped out of the ground and provided good feed early in the season. He said he would also like to the Goldstrike Bartolo bladder clover variety which looked promising in the trials.

Ralph Billing of Marrar, in southern NSW

David Pitt - SOWSmart Winter Express

A pasture blend of ryegrass, clover and medic has proved an ideal option for both dryland and irrigation on the property of David Pitt at Wistow, south of Mt Barker in the Adelaide Hills of South Australia. Mr Pitt planted SowSmart Winter Express to much of the farm this season after good results from the blend the previous year.  SowSmart Winter Express is a blend of Tetrone and Abundant Annual Italian ryegrasses, Turbo Persian and Alexandria Berseem clovers and Cavalier spineless burr medic. The blend was generally direct-drilled into old pastures that had suffered through years of dry conditions with the majority of the irrigated section sown in mid to late April and the dryland section from May through to June.  Mr Pitt said the feed from the blend was excellent through a very good season and dairy cows were first allowed to graze the paddocks when the feed was 4 to 5 inches in height. 

The herd was then gradually rotated around the farm through both irrigated and dryland sections for the next six months. Initially the 200 cows grazed a four acre section per day but as the feed increased the daily paddock size was cut down to two acres and eventually one acre. All of the irrigated sections were grazed right through although some of the dryland areas were shut up and taken for silage with a cut in late October. Mr Pitt said the regrowth from the paddock was so good that a second cut was achieved early in the summer months when the crop was a foot in height. He said the mix of ryegrass, clovers and medics was ideal with the ryegrass providing good early feed and the clovers coming into their own later in the season.

The first cut of silage had a good proportion of ryegrass with the subsequent cut showing more clover. Calving on the property starts in May and continues through July and August with the majority born during the month of September. The use of the SowSmart Winter Express blend works particularly well with the feed becoming available at a time when the milking cows require high quality forage.  During a very wet winter some of the paddocks were trampled and eaten down to mud and Mr Pitt said it was surprising the way the blend responded and grew back in spite of the setback. A seeding rate of 23 kilograms per hectare was used throughout the property which provided good establishment in both the irrigated and dryland sections. Mr Pitt said the blend did very well throughout the season and made the most of the good conditions by providing valuable grazing and silage options.

David Pitt, Wistow, Adelaide Hills
SOWsmart Medic Haygraze LR
Farmer's Feedback

David WoolfordDavid Woolford - SOWSmart Medic Haygraze LR

A specialty medic variety blend was used as a break crop and to produce good feed through the season on the property of David Woolford at Kimba,  on the Eyre Peninsula of South Australia. Mr Woolford planted 60 hectares of the SowSmart Medic Haygraze LR blend in late April by broadcasting seed out and incorporating it in with the prickle chain. The SowSmart Medic Haygraze LR blend is a mix of 4 different species which include Cavalier spineless burr medic, Caliph barrel medic, Silver snail medic and Enduro Balansa clover. “We used a blend because of the different soil types,” Mr Woolford said. “We wanted to mix it up a bit.” Medics have replaced grain legumes in the crop rotation after sheep were re-introduced onto the property after a ten year absence. Higher lamb and wool prices meant that sheep were more viable than in the past and could be utilised as an alternative to cropping. The medic blend germinated with rain in mid-May and was first grazed six weeks later.

Mobs of 200 Merino lambs grazed the paddock at different stages with ewes still taking advantage of the feed well into November. Mr Woolford said the late maturity of the medic blend allowed a feed option right through until stubbles were available after harvest. Cavalier spineless burr medic has a mid maturity and so is substantially later to flower than other options which allowed for more growth in late spring and early summer. The other medic varieties are shorter season and adapt well to low rainfall conditions with good production earlier in the season. SowSmart Medic Haygraze LR can also be used as a hay option if conditions on the season are favourable.  The medic paddock will be rotated through to a wheat crop with the nitrogen produced in the season expected to assist the cereal. “We might not need to use a urea-based fertiliser next year,” Mr Woolford said. As well as providing nitrogen to assist future crops, the medic phase has also provided an opportunity for different herbicide options in the rotation. “We are using medic legumes as a cleanup crop and will follow it with two years of wheat.” The success of the medic pasture was greatly assisted by the good conditions of the year with between 15 and 19 inches of rain falling on the property during the season.

David Woolford, Kimba, Eyre Peninsula SA

Brad DaveyBrad Davey - Excellent feed from Medic Blend at Port Neill -
SOWSmart Medic Haygraze LR

A blend of medic and clovers had produced a bulk of feed on the property of Brad Davey at Port Neill, on the Eyre Peninsula of South Australia. Mr Davey first sowed the SowSmart Medic Haygraze LR blend under a Maritime barley crop back in 2009 in an 89 hectare paddock. He said the paddock had been heavily infested with blanket weed, iceweed, barley grass and other species and the addition of medic was an opportunity to give it a good clean. “The paddock definitely had a lot of weeds so we thought we would get a bit of medic happening.” SowSmart Medic Haygraze LR was sown at 3 kilograms per hectare and germinated and grew well under the barley. Good seed set from the medics as the cover crop was being harvested assisted the blend in regenerating well for the 2010 season.

Mr Davey said the paddock was close to home so had a lot of stock rotating through it across the autumn, winter and spring. “I was very impressed,” he said. “We had lambs, hoggets and everything else running across that paddock. The sheep did really well on it. We could have put any number of sheep on it and they just were not keeping up to it.” “At stages it was 14 inches deep and very thick,” Mr Davey said. The paddock was continuously grazed through the year. Rainfall in the area is normally about 300mm rainfall which is why the low rainfall blend was chosen. In 2010 the rainfall figures were much higher and the forage made full use of the conditions with excellent production over many months. During 2011 the paddock was rotated into wheat, with that crop able to take advantage of the stored nitrogen leftover from the previous season.

Brad Davey, Port Neill, Eyre Peninsula SA
SOWsmart Lucerne & Chicory Blend
Farmer's Feedback

Peter CoyBrad Davey - Lucerne & Chicory Blend helping with red gut -
Lucerne & Chicory Blend

A blend of lucerne and chicory has provided an excellent option for Peter Coy, of Woorndoo, in the Western Districts of Victoria for the control of red gut in sheep. Mr Coy said red gut had been an issue on the property in the past and he was looking at other pasture options to address this. In the autumn of 2010 he planted the SOWsmart Lucerne & Chicory blend which is a combination of Q75 winter active lucerne and Balance chicory. “It’s been a terrific success,” Mr Coy said. “I am very happy with the chicory - it combines with the lucerne to stop deaths from red gut.” He said the 2010 season really suited the chicory and it did very well over the season.

The SowSmart blend is made up of 80 percent Q75 lucerne and 20 percent Balance chicory with the combination aimed at providing bulk and high quality feed over longer periods. Some 400 acres of the blend over 5 paddocks were planted on the Coy property in 2010, and lambs were allowed to rotationally graze the area throughout the year. Mr Coy said the stock did very well from the feed and the combination of lucerne and chicory seemed to suit the area well. The blend provided a bulk of feed over the season and could also have been made into hay at various stages. “We would normally make hay,” Mr Coy said. “This year we had plenty of hay so didn’t, but I think we will in the future.”

Peter Coy, Woorndoo, Western Victoria
Establishment Guarantee