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Manta: A new generation Italian ryegrass

Manta: A new generation Italian ryegrass

Manta: A new generation Italian ryegrass

For Mark and Louise Benns in the Waikato, undersowing with Asset AR37 diploid Italian ryegrass has been an integral part of their system for many years. For them, it is all about growing as much grass during the most important months of the year. Utilising Asset AR37 for its fast winter and spring growth has helped them achieve this.

In the autumn of 2022, Mark and Louise jumped at the opportunity presented by Scott Daubney, their PGG Wrightson Technical Field Representative in Tatuanui, to trial a paddock of the new diploid Italian ryegrass, Manta from Agricom. Scott was aware of how much Mark and Louise favoured Asset AR37, making it an obvious choice to trial the new genetics. Manta was undersown into an open perennial paddock, leaving half the paddock untouched so they could see the value of the Manta over time.

Manta is a new-generation Italian ryegrass that has undergone significant selection in the upper North Island and includes genetics from short-term ryegrass ecotypes from Northland. Alongside this northern New Zealand ecotype material, Manta has parents from a core pool of successful New Zealand Italian cultivars, as well as genetics from Spain, making it a diverse addition to Agricom’s ryegrass portfolio.

Scott, Mark and Louise trialled Manta throughout its first summer without any endophyte being present. With it being a relatively favourable 2022/2023 summer, they were impressed with Manta’s ability to get them through the North Island’s main pest pressure period. Eighteen months later, the ryegrass was still a thick sward demonstrating its value compared to the non-undersown area.

“The fact that it got through summer with no endophyte is impressive despite being favourable conditions. I am looking forward to seeing what Manta with AR37 endophyte is capable of,” says Mark.

With Scott working closely with Mark and Louise providing valuable agronomy advice, they will continue their long-term plan of undersowing and having AR37 is crucial to ensuring they get the persistence they need.

Manta has been shown to continue to persist through the winter into spring, impressing Mark with its growth. 

“Visually, it looks good compared to Asset. Along with the overall leaf size, Manta presents like an annual through winter and spring, with good palatability. The cows smash it, and it bounces back time and time again.”

With Manta AR37 diploid Italian ryegrass expected to be available this autumn, find out how it could fit into your farming system by contacting your local PGG Wrightson Technical Field Representative.