Putting science into sowing

By Dairy News

Dairy farmers selecting perennial rye-grass varieties for autumn sowing have been urged to back their decision with science by tapping into Dairy Australia’s Forage Value Index.

The FVI enables farmers to choose cultivars that will deliver the best results based on their location, farming system and forage needs.

Dairy Australia program leader Peter Johnson said the index ranked the performance of 30 of Australia’s most popular perennial rye-grass varieties, relative to typical climatic conditions across the country’s south-eastern dairy regions.

“By giving farmers the tools to put a really strong evidence base behind their decisions, the FVI can make a real difference to farm profitability,” Mr Johnson said.

Australian dairy farmers invest about $80 million each year on renovating pastures with perennial rye-grass cultivars.

“Before the FVI, there was very little independently-tested information on the traits and capabilities of these existing cultivars so farmers tended to stick with what they knew,” Mr Johnson said.

“Now they have an accurate and reliable way to assess the economic value of individual cultivars, it’s a lot easier for farmers to make the decision to invest in pasture renovation and increase their productivity and profitability.”

To be included in the FVI, each cultivar must have seasonal yield data from at least three, three-year trials using strict experimental protocols. Cultivars are then scored by multiplying their seasonal yield against the economic value, as determined by case studies in different dairy regions.

For more information about the Forage Value Index, go to:

The Forage Value Index is an example of the dairy service levy at work. For more information on this and other levy investments, visit: