The new tool to lift pasture quality and density

The new tool to lift pasture quality and density

24 February 2020

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Hot, dry summers can impact pasture’s quality and ryegrass density, and create issues for farmers heading into winter.

Undersowing, where seed is either drilled or broadcast into old or failing pastures (without spraying out) is also a contributor. Tetraploid hybrid ryegrasses are a great tool for undersowing to fill in run down pastures and increasing pasture production, particularly in Northland.

Alistair Megaw has been milking 960 cows on a 370 hectare (ha) effective dairy farm in Kerikeri, Northland, for three years now. He has been using hybrid ryegrasses to improve run down pastures converting to less desirable species.

“Hybrids have allowed us to increase pasture production and develop land quicker before being cropped in two to three years’ time,” Alistair says. Getting the extra pasture production during the winter and spring means he doesn’t need to rely as heavily on supplements during that time. With positive experiences with tetraploid hybrid ryegrasses in the past, Alistair jumped at the opportunity to trial half a paddock of Agricom’s new tetraploid hybrid, Mohaka with AR37 endophyte.

Mohaka AR37, which has been trialled during recent times as GIT15050, is a high performance, late heading (+20) tetraploid hybrid ryegrass bred for improved early growth and cool season activity over Agricom’s current long rotation tetraploid hybrid Ohau AR37. Mohaka has been bred with AR37 endophyte, which is a market leading endophyte for insect protection against Argentine stem weevil larvae and black beetle – two of the largest pasture pests in Northland.

Knowing the endophyte and seeing some of the trial work on Mohaka AR37 gave Farm Source TSR Fleur Scelly the confidence to recommend Mohaka to Alistair. Since planting the Mohaka AR37, Alistair has noticed “the cows are grazing it out every time and we’re really noticing finer stems and denser tillering of the Mohaka AR37”. Grazing management has been consistent across the paddock and to see differences in yield between the two halves of the paddock has been impressive.

As the summers can be dry in Northland and insect attacks are prominent, Alistair and Fleur will be watching the paddock closely to assess the differences in summer production and persistency between the two hybrids to inform their decisions moving forward.

Mohaka AR37 is being commercialised in autumn 2020. To find out more about Mohaka AR37, contact your local Farm Source TSR or Agricom Territory Manager.

Article supplied by Agricom