Capturing pasture potential with Shogun

Capturing pasture potential with Shogun

28 September 2017

Shogun tetraploid hybrid ryegrass has several outstanding performance characteristics, including record-breaking dry matter (DM) yield and a unique five-star rating in the DairyNZ Forage Value Index (FVI) for the 12-month forage type.

But what really sets Shogun apart is its ability to enhance pasture productivity in several different ways, from undersowing into poorly-performing paddocks to providing high quality cut and carry supplement.

Southland dairy farmer Phil Brock has already put New Zealand’s most popular hybrid ryegrass to good use in one of these situations. Now he is seeing the benefits of using it for a different reason altogether.

Phil and his wife Karen bought their current farm at Dacre three years ago. This season they wintered 660 cows (400 of them at home) with a total land area of 255 hectares (ha). In 2016/17, total production was 270,000 kilograms (kg) milk solids (MS) off 210 ha.

Grass is a big priority for the couple. They do not feed palm kernel or grains; the only supplement that goes into the system is grass silage from their support block, plus 13 to 14 ha of fodder beet for wintering.

Phil and Karen knew when they arrived on the farm all the existing pastures needed to be renewed, as overall dry matter (DM) production per ha was below potential. But they could not afford to have too many paddocks out of the grazing rotation at any one time because of their reliance on grass as the main source of feed for the herd.

So in their first spring they sprayed out 20 ha of old pasture and sowed Shogun plus clovers.

“We needed to get some grass growing straight away,” Phil explains. “We had used Shogun on our previous farm, as a cut and carry supplement on our run-off for silage, so we knew what it could do.”

The result was very good, with the Shogun paddocks growing fast enough to be grazed during lactation up to a week sooner than existing pastures. Phil’s hoping to get one more season out of that original 20 ha before either undersowing it with more Shogun or replacing it with perennial pasture.

In the meantime, as well as powering up their initial DM production, using Shogun in this way has helped the Brocks get on with renewing extra pasture above and beyond the land that is cropped for winter feed. Last spring, for example, on top of paddocks that were renewed ex crop, they sowed an additional 13 ha grass to grass with new perennial pasture.

Agriseeds pasture systems specialist Graham Kerr says the Brocks’ situation is a great example of how Shogun’s outstanding performance can make it easier for farmers to renew a greater proportion of their land per season than they might think feasible.

To find out how Shogun tetraploid hybrid ryegrass can power up production on your farm, talk to your local Fonterra Farm Source TSR today.

Image: Phil Brock and Fonterra Farm Source Wyndham TSR Lachie Craw.

Article supplied by Agriseeds