Over-sowing boosts pasture

By Country News on February 26, 2017
  • Over-sowing boosts pasture

    Shepparton dairy farmer Ron Newman (right) shows Reece Hardwidge from Heritage Seeds his pastures over-sown with Shogun ryegrass.

After moving from New Zealand in 2015, Ron and Sheralee Newman purchased 28ha near Shepparton to start their own dairy farm.

They immediately set about renovating the pastures and trying to improve productivity.

Mr Newman said his main aim was ensuring all areas were always growing, to produce permanent high-yielding grazing.

‘‘We jumped into a pasture rebuilding program in autumn 2016 and we got a contractor in with an air-seeder,’’ he said.

‘‘The really poor paddocks were sprayed out to remove the couch and rubbish weeds.

‘‘Then we went in with an annual rye-grass and Persian clover.

‘‘In other paddocks where we wanted to get more bulk and tonnage, we over-sowed in the autumn with 20kg/ha of Shogun, which is a late flowering hybrid rye-grass.’’

Despite the hot March, Mr Newman said the Shogun persisted well and grew throughout winter and spring.

‘‘Putting the Shogun over pastures to thicken them up went really well,’’ he said.

‘‘It was done more as a trial to see how it would work and it’s certainly impressed me enough to want to sow more this year.

‘‘Even with an extremely wet winter, where everything got chopped up by the milking cows, we rolled it and it bounced back.’’

Shogun, a hybrid rye-grass, is suitable for most soil types and has high autumn, winter, late spring and summer yields.

Mr Newman said he was looking for a vigorous, easy-to-grow rye-grass to grow a big bulk of his quality dry matter each year.

‘‘It’s all about kilojoules per cow per day.

‘‘Shogun’s provided feed through winter and spring in a year that was difficult in terms of being so wet.

‘‘It’s taken a good pounding and it’s persisted, so it’s a tough one.

‘‘Some varieties can just chuck in the towel if it gets too wet or cold. I’ve been impressed with it.’’

The grass is known to fit into high production dairy and lamb finishing systems as a medium-term, high-producing, late-season pasture.

Shogun generally lasts three to four years and has strong establishment, which makes it the ideal grass type for over-sowing rundown perennial pastures.

‘‘I thought the Shogun out-performed the annual rye-grass pastures to be honest, even through the winter,’’ Mr Newman said.

‘‘Every time the milking cows came out of the paddock we went in with urea or urea mix and if you keep if fed it goes well — you’ll get a good life out of it.

‘‘Over-sowing when you can do it doesn’t take pastures out of production for months on end, so I think that’s a better way to go.’’

By Country News on February 26, 2017

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