by Allan Mudford
With the extraordinary conditions confronting farms in many regions of Australia including ongoing drought and fires over the summer, farm-grown fodder is more important than ever.
Planning for this season’s plantings will help achieve feed through the winter and the ability to conserve hay and silage in the spring.
Select the pasture varieties that are right for your farm
Select the right varieties to suit your farm and your feed goals. The aim is to maximise production from early winter through to summer. In areas of the farm that dry off early in spring, use early varieties for increased winter production and early spring hay or silage.
For more fertile regions that retain spring moisture or irrigated blocks, use mid to late maturing varieties. This allows you to take full advantage of late spring/summer moisture and the extended growing season ideal for later cuts of hay or silage.
Valley Seeds varieties for early, mid and late season planting
When to sow
Start sowing when moisture is available and summer heat is dropping to reduce the risk of seedling plants burning off. For early plantings, consider the use of seed coating to help with insect pressure during establishment.
Always inspect new plantings 7-14 days after planting to monitor germination and insects. Excess weeds will take vital moisture and nutrients from the establishing pasture. Control insects and weeds at the correct stages – we recommend you consult with your farm advisor or agronomist for best options.
Correct grazing management will improve total pasture production for the whole season. Do not over graze early as this will cause plant loss,damage and reduce regrowth.
It is important to graze ryegrass plants at the 2 1/2 to 3 leaf stage to maximise the variety’s production. Avoid grazing below the height of a golf ball.