New tetraploid pasture passes the test

New tetraploid pasture passes the test

1 March 2017

Tetraploid ryegrass has already worked well for Warren Brewster on the Swanns’ winter milk dairy farm at Te Aroha, where he 50/50 sharemilks, as well as on his own dairy farm on the Hauraki plains.

So when his Farm Source Technical Sales Rep (TSR) gave him the chance last autumn to try the newest tetraploid on the market, he jumped at it.

Now Warren plans to use the new cultivar – Viscount – for all 30 hectares (ha) of his pasture renewal this autumn.

“We’re very happy with the way it has gone so far. It persisted through one of the wettest winters we’ve ever had and once we hit mid-August, we were grazing it every 15 days with our milkers, it was growing that well.”

Recommended by TSR Ryan Jackson, Viscount was sown mid-March 2016, following a summer crop. Like all the Brewsters’ new grass, it was established with attention to detail. The two ha paddock was cultivated and sprayed with glyphosate before seed was roller drilled, and a broadleaf herbicide was applied after the first grazing to eliminate any remaining weeds.

Warren says the new cultivar is a good fit with their goals for pasture renewal: “We want grasses that will give us maximum yield with maximum quality, especially through autumn and winter. They have to be fast-establishing because we’re autumn calving, and they have to be able to handle our conditions.”

He knew from 15ha of tetraploid ryegrass sown two years ago that they would be able to manage the Viscount appropriately.

“Tetraploids work well for us because we look after them. We graze to 1650 kilograms of dry matter per hectare (kg dry matter/ha) residuals, so we’re not hammering them. We feed them, up to 200 units of nitrogen (N) per year, and we’re careful with them in the wet,” says Warren.

The Te Aroha farm is winter milking 560 cows on 155ha effective in 2016/17 and the Brewsters are budgeting for total production of 250,000 to 255,000kg milksolids (MS).

Achieving this off-season means growing, buying and feeding plenty of supplements, including 17ha of maize and 8ha of lucerne (both for silage) and 100 tonnes of palm kernel expeller (PKE).

But good pasture remains the foundation of their business, and makes up two-thirds of the cows’ total diet.

Viscount comes from Agriseeds and combines the best of tetraploid feed quality with high total annual yield.

As well as improved DM production, Viscount also features better rust resistance and improved summer feed quality. Pasture systems manager Graham Kerr says it has been a standout performer in the Agriseeds plant breeding programme.

Viscount’s NEA endophyte, the same as that in Shogun, helps further support good animal performance with very low risk of animal health problems like ryegrass staggers.

To learn more about how Viscount can help you profit from more homegrown feed, talk to your local Fonterra Farm Source TSR today.

Article supplied by Agriseeds

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