SFS Long-term Pasture Variety Trials
In 2021, Southern Farming Systems established a feed base focused trial site at Rokewood, SW Victoria. The main purpose of the trial site is to find ways of enhancing the performance of existing pastures and analysing the productivity and persistence of re-sown pastures. These are long-term trials with the aim to have field days and opportunities for education out at the site.
In 2022, a pasture variety trial was established with separate phalaris, sub-clover, tall fescue, perennial ryegrass and short-term (annual and Italian) ryegrass variety trials. These trials mimic the MLA Pasture Trial Network, a valuable resource when selecting pasture species for feed base improvement, with our trials filling in the data gap for our local growers. Our trials include varieties that are suited to Rokewood’s soil-type and rainfall zone, as well varieties that are less suitable and not expected to survive, if hot and dry summers occur, for a comparison.
As these trials were sown in May 2022, management and cutting of trials were focussed on allowing the pastures to establish well and hopefully persist into the following years.
On average, the perennial ryegrass varieties produced the most Dry Matter (DM), producing ~10,000 kg/ha of DM in 2022. The tall fescue varieties produced on average ~8,500 kg/ha of DM, the phalaris varieties produced ~7,600 kg/ha DM and the short-term ryegrass varieties produced ~7,300 kg/ha DM. The stand out varieties for 2022 included: Temora (tall-fescue), New Tetilla (annual ryegrass) and Bindoon (sub-clover).
The aim for these trials in the following years is to see which varieties persist long-term, which are the most productive, and the seasonal issues and limitations to production that arise over time. Results for this trial will be published in the SFS 2022 Results Book, 2nd Edition, published mid-2023 for members only. To stay up to date with up-coming events held at our Rokewood trial site check out the website sfs.org.au, Twitter and FaceBook feeds.