WHEN MATT Loader started doing second cuts for silage he knew he was onto something good. Four years ago he started using Surge – a high yielding diploid Italian ryegrass – on out blocks and parts of his main milking area at Krowera in south Gippsland to improve the quality of the silage.
“Since then I’ve done a second cut every year for the last four years on the out blocks,” Mr Loader said.
“The quality is always good. It just grows, even on one of my blocks that’s quite steep. I’ve put it on all the ridge paddocks and even in a hot summer it still keeps on growing.”
The success rate continues to get better. “Last year I cut it three times, that was the first time I’ve done that. It was a fairly kind summer but that was still a good result,” he said. “I don’t know the percentages but we’ve certainly had better production with the Surge.”
The Loaders concentrate the Surge on the out blocks but put a bit throughout the milking area. “The farm is quite steep. On a few of the flatter paddocks I have it there mainly for silage. I can get a couple of cuts of silage off it.”
Adam Fisher from Notman Pasture Seeds recommended the farm use Surge and Mr Loader has been happy with the tip. “It’s been good. I buy it every year and would recommend it to anyone.”
Mr Loader and his partner Meagan are milking 300 Holstein Friesians on the 114ha farm where they share farm with Meagan’s parents. The farm also has out blocks for young stock, some of which is on steep terrain and some on river flats. The cows produce around 9000-10,000 litres a year.
“We’re limited by the seasons and I guess you always want more, but we’re pretty happy with that,” he said.
The farm only plants ryegrass, predominantly perennials but has been venturing into a few more Italians. “Ryegrass is good quality feed and has good bulk,” Mr Loader said.
The Loaders work on a philosophy of buying as little feed as possible. “The cheapest feed is the stuff that you can grow,” Mr Loader said.
“We’ve acquired the out blocks mainly for raising young stock and being able to grow extra fodder so we don’t have to buy feed.”
He says the current season is looking good. “It’s not bad at the moment,” Mr Loader said. “Winter has been very kind; the rain we’ve been getting is very good. We’ll just have to wait and see what happens in spring and summer.” He’s not too worried though. “It’s a lot easier to feed cattle in summer than it is to feed them in a wet winter. I’d rather an El Nino than it being too wet.”
Mr Loader believes the keys to growing good pasture are management and fertiliser. “We do an annual dump of 500kg per hectare followed up by urea when required and then a threein-one 50% cent urea booster over the spring period, and followed in summer with urea when there’s moisture available.” He said the formula is working and they plan the same routine again this year.
Dairy News Australia