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With climate change, the predictions are that annual rainfall will decrease and temperatures will increase. If this occurs, then unless a far greater effort is placed on breeding cultivars better suited to Australia’s environment we are likely to see a the current perennial ryegrass zone shrink as a result of poor ryegrass persistence.
Some Australian trials have demonstrated that Australian bred perennial ryegrass is potentially better adapted to some regions than perennial ryegrass bred overseas. Evidence is mounting that an important consideration when selecting a cultivar should first be how well adapted is it to the region and then after that endophyte.
Persistency is important not only due to the extra cost that is involved in having to resow pastures but also when desirable plants die they are usually replaced with weeds.
The results from the trial in Yarck, a site that has an early finish to the season (see Table 1 and Figure 1) suggest that Australian bred or background based material to have greater persistence than material bred in New Zealand, in a tough Australian environment.
This may be due to a number of factors including:
- Adaptation of the parental material to the Australian environment of over 100 years
- The appropriate heading date, early and mid heading would be more suitable to most Australian environments than late heading when it comes to persistence.
Table 1. Plot Density % on 7/7/10 at Perennial ryegrass trial, Yarck central Victoria, Sown 18/4/08.
Figure 1. Plot density on 7/7/10 of Perennial ryegrass trial, Yarck central Victoria, Sown 18/4/08,
(A) Camel with Nil endophyte,
(B) Banquet II with novel endophyte AR5