Adam Fisher & Andrew Allsop discuss the importance of trials comparing to current farming practices.

With a multitude of pasture varieties available on the market it can be difficult selecting the right cultivar to suit your farm.

The decision has been made easier for many dairy farmers participating in Notman Pasture Seeds pasture trial program in southern Australia where farmers can identify what performs well under their local conditions & management practices.

Proving valuable decision-making tools, the trial program offers greater ownership of the decision by allowing farmers to see how innovations in pasture breeding are delivering increases in pasture yield, persistence & quality on their farm.

Agronomist Andrew Allsop with Notman Pasture Seeds in the Western District said as the industry evolves it was important for farmers to continue to be involved in the trial programs run under standard industry protocol.

“Working with farmers allows us to compare industry standards with current farming practices,”

“And we are able to identify the suitability of new germ plasm in our local environments & screen yet to be released lines with current industry standards & practices.” he said.

Andrew said Notman Pasture Seeds run sites predominately in high rainfall or irrigation zones of southern Australia & focus on criteria including persistence, seasonal production, quality, palatability.

A perennial ryegrass trial sown on dairy farmer Mark Hammond’s property has proven reassuring, giving him the ability to compare current market varieties to new breeding lines coming through.

In the replicated trial, Mark said it has been good to identify those ryegrass varieties which are performing well under the local conditions.
“It’s been good to see what works on our farm and what doesn’t.” Mark said.

Mark said the trial results have given him confidence, with the perennial ryegrass varieties planted on his farm generally being the top performing trial varieties.

Pasture species trial results vary from trial to trial and different cultivars behave differently under different management conditions. The reason for this variance is often determined by a number of factors said Adam Fisher of Notman Pasture Seeds.

“These include the particular growing conditions and trial management at the site; whether the trial was run on a research station or on-farm; and whether the trials were sole species or in mixes”

He said Notman Pasture Seeds emphasised persistence as a key indicator when measuring the performance of a perennial ryegrass’ as it’s a characteristic that’s important advantage in a tough year

“Cultivar selection is important when renovating pastures. However, understanding what works and what doesn’t work on your farm can be invaluable”

“By seeing the new innovations in ryegrass plant breeding first hand you can see the extra benefits in yield, persistence and quality the newer varieties are delivering”