Home' On The Land : March 10th 2011 Contents 8 -- ON THE LAND THURSDAY, March 10, 2011
An Advertising Feature of The Standard
Two ryegrasses' top results
SCOTT Thompson manages a dairy farm five
kilometres north of Koroit.
The 500-hectare property is on predominately
clay soils, and is milking 850 cows.
Mr Thompson's objective is to maximise the
output of all pasture to best utilise the available
land and to feed the cows year round.
"We aim to grow as much quality pasture as
we can. Pasture is the cheapest feed. You don't
have to buy it in and you don't have to harvest
it," he said.
With many years dairy experience behind him,
first in Tasmania and then in northern Victoria,
Mr Thompson's focus since taking on his current
role has been to clean up pastures and grow
better performing species.
He has worked with the owner of the property
to make pasture management decisions that are
now showing results. An integral part of this
strategy is the use of several pasture species
from independent seed supplier, Specialty Seeds.
"The farm was already using some Specialty
Seeds products before I came along, but on
the back of some really good results we have
expanded our plantings," Mr Thompson said.
These successes include Aberdart High Sugar
Grass and Kano Italian Ryegrass.
"The two are standout seeds for us."
Aberdart High Sugar Grass is a perennial dip-
loid ryegrass that has a 15 to 30 per cent higher
sugar content compared to other ryegrasses.
This boosts the ability of animals grazing it
to convert the plant protein to animal protein
and milk. The result of 30 years of research,
Specialty Seeds' Aber range is the only perennial
high sugar grass of its type in the world.
It is highly persistent, very palatable and
yields well. "Aberdart has been very successful
for us," Mr Thompson said.
"Two years ago we had 20 hectares of it, two
of them under irrigation and the rest dry land.
This year we've extended that by planting
another 40 hectares. We feel confident that
Aberdart suits our land and our water.
"We haven't got enough of it yet to say that
milk production is a certain percentage higher
overall, but I can say there is a noticeable
difference for the five to six days they are on it."
Mr Thompson also notes that the cows graze it
cleaner, the re-growth response is excellent and
when it has been cut for silage the cows are back
grazing it sooner.
Kano Italian Ryegrass is another Specialty
Seeds product that Mr Thompson is very happy
with. He believes it suits the farm's soil types
and definitely has an important place in the
farm's pasture management strategy.
Kano is a diploid Italian ryegrass that has a
high disease resistance and is well-known for its
rapid regrowth after grazing.
Kano can be either sown alone or in a mix
with permanent pasture. It is also widely used
to oversow into pastures that have been winter
pugged, succumbed to summer drought or
affected by insect damage.
Extensively trialled in Victoria, Kano suits a
variety of soil types and fertility ranges.
Mr Thompson said 10 hectares of straight
Kano were grazed all autumn and winter and
was still being grazed well into mid-spring.
"The cows graze it out well, with no clumps
left," he said.
"We've also over-sowed several other paddocks
with Kano and I'm pleased with results. This
was done to help thicken up the pasture. These
paddocks have been grazed all winter, and by
late October I'd already cut silage.
"We initially had 20 hectares over-sowed of
Kano, now we've got 75 hectares. That says
something about its success."
Mr Thompson always follows grazing or silage
cut with an application of nitrogen to keep the
growth rate going, and has found that this
ensures good results are maintained.
Mr Thompson said he would like to extend
planting of Specialty Seeds products.
"The results we've been getting so far are
really good. Specialty Seeds products cope well
in our conditions and suit our soil types. They've
taken off, and continue to do well.
"I want to see pasture grazed out evenly
and then bounce back quickly. This is what
I get from our Specialty Seeds varieties," he
A group of dairy
farmers inspects Kano
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