Phalaris originated in the Mediterranean region and hence is well adapted to survive the typical Mediterranean climates of mild autumns, moist winters and hot dry summers, typical of much of Southern Australia.
Amplify Phalaris is a unique PBR product bred by Valley seeds, bred from Holdfast-Atlas and Landmaster.
This breeding program has produced a modern phalaris with a deeper and larger root system, acid tolerance, rust resistance, improved winter activity and summer dormancy with a higher quality leaf production.
Areas suitable for Amplify phalaris plantings
Suitable area for Phalaris planting as areas receiving more than 300mm of effective rainfall between April and October (the main growing season).
Amplify Phalaris can be grown successfully at lower rainfalls (between April and October) in southern New South Wales and Victoria due to higher incidence and greater reliability of cool season rainfall.
Amplify phalaris is very tolerant to variations in temperature, surviving both low winter temperatures and severe frosts on the Tablelands, as well as high summer temperatures in the inland Slopes districts.
Its maximum growth period is during autumn and spring, and cultivars such as Amplify have improved winter growth over older cultivars.
In much of New South Wales and Victoria winter Active Amplify exhibits a moderate dormancy during summer. This dormancy generally lasts until temperatures decline in late February to early March when active regrowth follows autumn rains.
The importance of a deep rooted perennial grass
A deeper and larger root system will improve the ability of a species to survive dry conditions, insect attack and improve and extend the growth season.
Deeper roots are better at drawing moisture at depth, and keep the pasture productive as summer comes on. A more extensive root system also allows Amplify phalaris to access and utilise nutrients.
|Tall Fescue||1m approx|
Root mass is also strongly influenced by grazing management. Continuous grazing with little rest periods will root mass and deplete plant reserves.
Grazing management to maximise production and persistence
Phalaris is renowned for persisting under poor grazing management. The presence of a productive legume and good grazing management will result in outstanding production and persistence. Rotational grazing or on/off grazing gives the phalaris and legume pastures a chance to recover and build up stored energy between grazings.
Rotational grazing prevents livestock from over grazing the very palatable legume plants.
Summer: Towards the end of summer, if soil erosion is not likely to be a problem, aim for 10–15% of bare ground to assist the establishment of annual legumes.
Being left with a bulk of mature reproductive growth has implications. Dry material leads to shading, which:
- • Reduces light interception needed for production of carbohydrates by photosynthesis and therefore decreases growth
- • Reduces tiller density, as tiller production depends on light reaching the base of the plant
- • Thins out the pasture by reducing tiller density, which makes the pasture susceptible to annual weed invasion2
- • prevents small tillers becoming photosynthetically independent, leading to tiller death
- • reduces hard seed breakdown of annual clovers, reducing germination
- • reduces pasture quality and palatability
- Leaches toxins which are allelopathic, which prevents growth or germination of other species. Phalaris herbage and leaf litter can adversely affect the establishment of sub clover.
Autumn: Rest to establish regrowth of at least 1000 kg DM/ha and apply moderate grazing pressure once clover is established. Avoid grazing below 700 kg DM/ha (phase 1).
Winter: Grazing management in winter is not critical, particularly for the semi winter-dormant varieties. Rotational grazing is recommended for the more erect winter-active cultivars and will strengthen stands of all varieties, but at a cost of lower clover content (maintain phase 2-3).
Spring: Avoid repeated or continuous heavy grazing or cutting once the first node can be felt at the base of the stems, until seed head emergence. Avoid grazing below 1200 kg DM/ha to assist summer survival (target phase 2 in early spring).
Late Spring: On the South-West, Central-West and North-Western Slopes exclude stock or reduce stocking rate for 4-6 weeks once stem elongation commences, as this will improve summer survival (phase 3-4).
Phalaris is a high quality grass often considered intermediate between ryegrass and tall fescue in this regard.
During vegetative growth (phase 2), digestibility is typically in the range of 75-80% and metabolisable energy around 11-12 MJ/kg DM. Nutritive value declines as the flowering stems develop and mature.
Vegetative growth is highly palatable but palatability declines as flowering stems mature and dry off during summer.
Production potential is high provided soil fertility is adequate. Peak spring growth rates are typically 50-80 kg/ha/day of dry matter. Winter growth rates are typically 10 kg/ha/day in cooler areas (e.g. NSW Tablelands), varying from 5-20 kg/ha/day depending on locality and cultivar. Phalaris-clover pastures are good for live weight gain and fattening. Under good conditions, dryland mixed pastures based on phalaris can carry an average of 1-2.5 steers/ha (300 kg liveweight or 10-15 DSE/ha) during April-November, and produce liveweight gains of 0.9-1.2 kg/head/day.
The importance of a productive companion legume
The important thing is that a well-balanced grass and clover pasture will outperform a monoculture pasture. It is more adaptable to seasonal conditions and provides a safe well-balanced diet to both sheep and cattle.
To get the best from your legume and grass-based pasture you need to have suitable soil conditions such as a well-drained soil in the 5.3 to 5.9 pH range, with adequate fertility. The soil fertility will vary with the soil type, location, and local climatic conditions.
Phalaris is the perfect companion to Sub Clover.
- Sub Clover maintains its high feed quality throughout the growing season.
- If well nodulated, it fixes nitrogen that can be used by grasses and other broadleaf plants.
- A tonne of sub‑clover dry matter (DM) can produce up to 25kg of nitrogen/ha/year.
- In the vegetative stage, the green material is highly digestible, exceeding 75%, with correspondingly high energy contents above 11 MJ ME (megajoules of metabolisable energy)/kg DM and around 30% protein.
- Even though the pasture declines in digestibility as it dries off, it still maintains a high crude protein content.
- The seed and burr of sub‑clover is also high in protein.
Soil fertility requirements
As a general rule a good pasture paddock would have:
- An Olsen phosphorus range of 15-25 Olsen P, 35-40 Colwell P
- A Colwell potassium range of 150-230 depending on soil type. Sandy loams to Clays.
- Sulphur KCL – 40 tests in the 8-12 range.
It is recommended to take a soil test of your pasture paddocks every 3-4 years in the spring months when pastures are actively growing. Base your lime and phosphorus, potassium and sulphur (PKS) fertiliser application on the soil test results in consultation with your local agronomist to fine tune your local soil requirements.