Management

Late heading grasses maximise spring timing

By Dairy News

GROWING LEAFY, quality, late heading Italian rye-grass cultivars right through the silage and hay season has become a valuable tool for Australian dairy farmers looking to maximise flexibility and production.

Late heading cultivars provide a significant advantage in late spring and early summer quality, as they maintain leafiness for longer, go to seed head later and tend to produce less aftermath heading (returns to vegetative state quickly after heading).

New late heading cultivars make grazing, silage and hay management easier by growing luscious, high yielding feed for longer.

At the forefront of new late heading rye-grass breeding is Vibe Italian Rye-grass.

Bred with persistence in mind, Peter Notman from Notman Pasture Seeds said Vibe Italian rye-grass had shown superior persistence under varying environmental conditions and dairy management systems without sacrificing yield.

“It’s been a part of a 15-year persistence breeding and endophyte Italian rye-grass programe from Cropmark, and naturally it’s shown very good persistence in its class without animal toxicity.”

He said as a diploid Italian it handles hard grazings well and the new breeding technology gives advantages over previous Italian rye-grass varieties

“It seems to hang on in there when some other Italians won’t.”

By maintaining leafiness later, late maturing rye-grasses offer silage harvest flexibility to farmers by holding onto quality.

“Vibe handles hard grazings very well, and at +27 days heading date compared to Nui, it is up to 10 days later heading than traditional Italian rye-grasses,” Peter said.

Adam Sheedy, operations manager of Cropmark Seeds, has witnessed first-hand the success of Vibe.

“Our persistence program has been running twenty years now, and Vibe is a real game changer in terms of Italian rye-grasses,” Adam said.

“In our Australian run trials we have noticed significant yield and persistence benefits of the Vibe rye-grass, compared to the nil endophyte varieties”

Continuing into spring from winter, the later maturing Italian rye-grasses with improved genetic traits are giving economic gains to dairy farmers.

“We are really starting to see the results of this, coupled with the higher dry matter yields.”