Platinum – A Grass Breeding Breakthrough

With the rising costs of supplementary feeds farmers have turned to pasture varieties that are productive through all seasons and persistent for many years.  Most of the original perennial ryegrass varieties produced most of their dry matter (DM) yield in a small window near flowering but Valley Seeds has been able to break this mould with their new perennial ryegrass called Platinum.

Platinum perennial ryegrass is a very dense tiller variety and this is the reason why it persists so well.  Tillers are like the battery for the plant where it stores its energy to survive.  The more tillers that a plant has the better chance it has of surviving under harsh conditions such as drought, heavy grazing and heat.

The flowering date of Platinum is 21+ days which in a normal year would be around mid- November.  Most perennial ryegrasses have a strong growth spurt close to flowering so Platinum is able to produce high quality DM yields late into the year when the other earlier flowering perennial ryegrasses are fully flowering.  The digestibility of perennial ryegrass drops dramatically at flowering so it is important to keep them leafy for as long as possible into the season before flowering and that is what Platinum does best.

Not only does Platinum perennial ryegrass produce high DM yields and maintain high forage quality late into the season but it breaks the mould by being able to produce high winter DM yields; a trait usually associated with the early flowering perennial ryegrasses.  This makes Platinum the ideal perennial ryegrass for all season high DM production.

Platinum perennial ryegrass was bred for high DM yields throughout the season and persistence.  Platinum was thoroughly screened for resistance to diseases such as crown rust.  Crown rust can lower the animal preference towards your pastures. Under a bad rust infection there can be high DM yield but stock won’t eat it.  The better the crown rust resistance the greater the utilisation of pasture and the higher the profitability of the farming enterprise.

Platinum perennial ryegrass also has an exceptional heat tolerance.  It has parentage that is known for continuous growth under hot conditions, a must for farmers that are looking for high production under summer irrigation.

During summer and autumn animals will express the sub-clinical symptoms of the effect of standard endophyte in grasses.  Visual symptoms include staggers and heat stress but non visual symptoms can be a decrease in milk or meat production as the animal does not eat the grass due to the toxins the endophyte in the grass produces.  Platinum perennial ryegrass doesn’t have endophyte so it is grazing safe and won’t affect milk or meat production over these periods.

Platinum perennial ryegrass has been thoroughly trialled in numerous locations including Finley NSW, Ecklin and Sale in Victoria.  The following results show the high DM production throughout the season which proves that Platinum perennial ryegrass is the all- round ryegrass for Australian farmers.

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Figure 1: Relative DM yield (kg/ha) trial Sale, Gippsland, Victoria 2003-05.

 

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Figure 2: Relative DM yield pooled data from Western Victoria, Gippsland and the Goulburn Valley 2006.

 

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Figure 3: Relative DM yield trial from Western Victoria 2008-10.

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