• • • Harvest trials to assess seed ryegrass
Results of field trials on two dairy farms comparing commercial ryegrass seed performance will be presented to a Western Dairy forum next month. Three harvests of the trial sites to compare 10 lines of ryegrass have been conducted so far since the seed was planted at both sites on May 1. Western Dairy’s research scientist and trial manager Peter Hutton hopes three more harvests may be possible, depending on the end of the growing season, before the final analysis.
The 10 lines of ryegrass seed from a number of suppliers were planted into non-wetting sandy soil on a support block on Ray and Donna Kitchen’s Carenda dairy at Boyanup and into more fertile clay loam on a dairy platform at Matt and Angela Brett’s farm, Dardanup. Growth rate expressed in kilograms of dry matter (DM) per hectare plus feed quality – measured by neutral detergent fibre, metabolisable energy and crude protein – are being assessed for each line under the different paddock histories.
“The purpose of the trials is to provide real-time information on the range of performance measures of different lines of ryegrass so that when our farmers make their seed selections next autumn, they do so with a greater appreciation of the differences of each,” Dr Hutton said.