Introducing the next generation in productive pasture

Introducing the next generation in productive pasture

27 January 2020

Maxsyn NEA4 is an exciting new release from Barenbrug Agriseeds available for sowing this autumn.

Persistent, robust, densely tillered, with superior summer and autumn growth, and the highest yield of any perennial ryegrass the company has released, Maxsyn NEA4 also comes with a great endophyte.

This new cultivar has been 19 years in the making and has a superb pedigree. It began as a cross between elite Alto and Arrow ryegrass plants, with the top progeny from this combination then rigorously selected to become the ‘best of the best’.

This lineage is reflected in its name, which references Bronsyn, the best-selling perennial ryegrass in the Southern Hemisphere in the 2000s; and Yatsyn 1, the original game-changer in the 1990s.

“Maxsyn has excelled in our breeding and trial programme, particularly through heat and erratic weather patterns that now seem to be part of life,” says Blair Cotching, pasture systems manager for Barenbrug Agriseeds.

Its genetics are a key reason for this, enhanced by fine, dense leaves (denser than Trojan, similar to Governor). The more tillers a pasture has, the more robust it is.

“Maxsyn has consistently out-produced every other perennial ryegrass we have tested it against,” Blair says.

Its main yield advantage comes in summer and autumn, when most farm systems are short of feed and extra pasture is highly valued. The more dry matter (DM) that can be grown during these months, the less imported feed is needed.

Maxsyn comes with NEA4 endophyte and this combination is showing excellent persistence in the field under real life pressures such as moisture stress, heat, insects and overgrazing, which are sometimes present all at once.

Two farmers who have sown trial paddocks of Maxsyn say they’re looking forward to seeing how it progresses in their farm’s conditions.

In Taranaki, part of Phil and Angie Barron’s 120-hectare (ha) farm at Okato fronts onto the Tasman sea. Any pasture that goes into the Hangatahua’s fine, sandy loam soils on these paddocks is exposed to wind, salt and dry conditions, plus insects like black beetle.

So that’s where Phil and Angie planted two ha of Maxsyn in autumn 2019, one paddock back from the beach.

“We have done extensive re-grassing on this farm through summer turnips and maize, and Alto has held up well on our coastal country,” Phil explains. “When we found out that Maxsyn was bred from Alto, we were keen to give it a go.”

The Barrons milk 350 crossbred cows on the farm, with production for 2019/20 expected to be on par with the previous season at 125,000 kilograms (kg) milksolids (MS).

They are currently running the farm as a System 2 and say it can grow 15-16 tonnes (t) pasture DM/ha/year.

Some paddocks can be irrigated, but the combination of dry summers and insect pests puts pressure on their ryegrass, so pasture persistence and yield are equally important.

Maxsyn was sown after summer maize. It established fast and well, and as of mid-December, had flourished in kind conditions.

“The real key on this country will be how it handles summer,” Phil says.

Over in Hawke’s Bay, Greg and Gail Mitchell have an equal interest in pasture persistence, although their conditions are quite different.

The Mitchells farm on free-draining ash soils with an expected annual rainfall of 1,500 millimetres (mm) at Patoka.

Pasture pests are not so much of a problem there, but summer heat is a big challenge for ryegrass and persistence can be a problem.

Greg says they became interested in Maxsyn because they wanted to find a ryegrass cultivar that was both persistent and dense.

Like the Barrons in Taranaki, they sowed two ha of Maxsyn in autumn 2019 as a test. Drilled after a summer chicory crop was finished, it established successfully, with good winter growth, and was sprayed in spring for broadleaf weeds.

Their cows have grazed it well and evenly, Greg says.

“It’s quite deceptive, in that it is slightly thicker than you realise. We’ve probably under-estimated how much grass is growing in that paddock,” he says.

With 1,550 cows on 520 ha, the Mitchells are running the farm as a System 3 and targeting total production of 620,000 kg MS for 2019/20.

With the right pastures and conditions, the farm has the potential to grow 15-16 t DM/ha/year.

For dairy cows, Maxsyn NEA4 provides pasture that’s ryegrass staggers free. Well managed, it is high in metabolisable energy (ME) at 12.0+ megajoules of ME/kg DM.

Feedback from farm demonstration trials is that stock like it, and it holds a good clover content.

Maxsyn NEA4 is available for sowing now from Farm Source. Call in store today to find out more or have a word with your local Farm Source TSR.

* Yield assessed across five trials run in Canterbury 2014-17; Manawatu 2016-19; Canterbury 2016-19; Canterbury 2017-18 and Canterbury 2018-19. Maxsyn tested in three endophyte combinations of NEA4, NEA12 and SE. Statistical differences are given by least significant difference bars, cultivars with the same letter are not different.