Capturing the potential with Shogun

Capturing the potential with Shogun

26 February 2018

Shogun 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 (in the 12 month forage type).

Another thing that really sets it apart is Shogun's ability to enhance productivity across several different types of farm system

“Farmers are finding ways to use Shogun that we never expected,” says North Island agronomist Will Henson.

As a pasture systems specialist for Agriseeds (the company that bred Shogun), he has first-hand experience of how different farmers have profited from its prolific yield and quality.

One of the most popular uses is undersowing Shogun into poorly-performing paddocks in order to enhance DM yield and increase the metabolisable energy (ME) of feed.

Given the weather over the past winter, spring and summer, Will says undersowing with Shogun is likely to be even more widespread than normal this autumn as farmers restore paddocks which were damaged by both extremely wet and extremely dry conditions.

In South Taranaki, Shogun has proved its worth year-round as a high-performance pasture for Bert and Becky Gibson near Kaponga.

The Gibsons are owner/operators milking 175 Kiwi cross cows under a System three on 61 hectares (ha). Bert works off farm in the energy industry while Becky is in charge of day-to-day farming. Always keen to use new pasture genetics, the Gibsons sowed a small test paddock ex summer crop soon after Shogun was launched to the market.

From the start, it impressed them with stand-out daily DM growth rates, and as their area of Shogun has increased in subsequent years, so too has their appreciation of its flexibility.

Approximately 12 percent of the farm is now in Shogun. Benefits include faster return times (e.g. 18 days for Shogun paddocks when the rest of the farm is on a 25 day round); the ability to harvest extra supplement in summer, and cool season growth which dovetails with the start of lactation in late July and early August.

“Those paddocks are the first to take off in spring. When the pressure comes on the farm, they seem to be the last to slow down and, after the rain, they bounce back faster,” Bert says.

“My concern with shorter-rotation ryegrass was it would thin out quite quickly. But even in the season we’ve had this past year, I’m very, very happy with it. We went from one of the wettest springs we’ve ever known straight into one of the hardest dries we’ve ever known, and to see Shogun still holding on so well is really good.”

As Shogun is a tetraploid, the Gibsons aim to avoid pasture damage during wet weather, and also time their grazings carefully.

“Because it grows so upright, and looks so amazing in the paddock, you’ve got to make sure it is actually at the three leaf stage before you graze it, so you’re not sneaking into it at two leaves. We possibly thinned out our first paddock doing that but we know now to check it.”

For more information about profiting from Shogun this autumn, talk to your Farm Source TSR today.

Article supplied by Agriseeds