Keys to promoting winter growth

Permanent pasture is the mainstay of our pastures in South Gippsland, so maximising the performance of these pastures is of utmost importance. Timing is important in the establishment new pastures as overlooked opportunities & mismanagement can have severe impacts on long term pasture performance heading into late winter and spring with diminished DM/ha returns of quality feed.

Walk pastures on a regular basis and assess how far away they are from the necessary grazing, fertiliser and weed/pest control. Common weed infestations include capeweed, chickweed, dock, erodium, flatweed, marshmallow, stinging nettle & thistles. It’s important to ensure herbicide grazing withholds are observed & impact to legumes such as clovers are taken into consideration.

New pastures often benefit from a light grazing 6-8 weeks after sowing at approximately. 3 inches (when pasture is consolidated enough so that ‘pulling; and ‘pugging’ are negated). This encourages the plant to tiller and assist clover establishment by allowing more light into the base of the sward.

With pasture growth slowing in falling temperatures & daylight hours – a naturally occurring plant hormone such as Accelerate growth regulant can boost pasture an extra 600kg DM/ha per application during periods of reduced winter pasture production whilst also being an economic option by combining it with your weed control program. 

Notman Pasture Seeds conducted approximately 80 replicated trials in Gippsland & the Western District with average responses on perennial ryegrass of 606kg DM/ha in winter & 308kg DM/ha in spring per application. Boosting cool season growth resulted in pastures reaching optimal grazing height quicker, allowing for more frequent paddock rotations and better land utilisation.

Preventing winter grasses establishment is important, with Poa Annual maturing quickly and seeding profusely making them an aggressive weed difficult to control. Poa Annual is light green in colour with tufted growth habit and seeding from late winter throughout spring and early summer. We recommend using a Scanner 500 to attack winter grasses as grazing or mowing is ultimately ineffective in their control as they begin to choke up your pastures. 

For more information on promoting winter growth contact Notman Pasture Seeds on (03) 5659 2314.