Vast ryegrass offers Taranaki farmer late summer pasture
On the coast of South Taranaki in Manutahi, Farmer Richard Brewer and his brother William run multiple farm systems including dairy, sheep and beef, and maize silage production on two properties totalling 460 ha.
In addition, Richard runs a no-tillage, cross-slot drill contracting business. Since 2008, Richard has utilised no-till drilling on his farm to protect his soil from over-cultivating. He notes that while the soil is fertile, it needs to be carefully managed.
As part of managing the paddocks on the farms, Richard acknowledges the importance of a successful pasture renewal plan. “In any re-grassing system, it’s not just about sowing the seed, it’s also the pre-and post-management to get a pasture up and running.”
On Richard’s dairy platform, he follows a two to three-year pasture renewal plan in either maize silage or turnips, with a break-crop of Winter Star II as an autumn sown option.
Richard relies on the support and knowledge of PGG Wrightson Technical Field Representative Bradley Stone to help monitor the crops, assist with soil testing and offer advice on fertiliser applications. Together, Bradley and Richard discuss and choose the most appropriate pasture mixes to meet the farm’s goals and form a management plan. It is at this time the pair consider new product opportunities.
Previously, Richard had used Base tetraploid perennial ryegrass with AR37 endophyte and had been pleased with the results. Always looking at new pasture options, Richard decided to trial Vast with AR37 endophyte, the latest tetraploid perennial ryegrass from PGG Wrightson Seeds. He started with 9 ha of Vast on his dairy platform, then last autumn added another 3 ha.
Richard has been impressed with Vast to date. In the local area, ryegrasses are susceptible to rust, something Vast has shown a tolerance to. As well, Vast’s extremely late heading date (+36 days) has proven to be beneficial for their farming system.
“We can get another round in spring before having to worry about seed head production,” says Richard.
The palatability and quality of Vast are also rated highly by Richard, especially in the summer and autumn periods. “I have been pleased to see the cows spread out over the paddocks and I haven’t noted any issues with them bellowing at the gate.”
Bradley has observed other farmers who sow Vast are seeing similar benefits to Richard, including its rust resistance and later heading date providing quality later into summer. He says seeing new cultivars solve problems and deliver production gains is good for farmers, though this success comes from careful management.
Having just purchased another block next door, Richard will look to integrate Vast into his sheep system as well. “Vast almost has the density of a diploid due to its high tiller density, so it’s pointing towards being a good fit for sheep as well.”
Learn more about Vast tetraploid perennial ryegrass and its suitability in your farming system from your local PGG Wrightson Technical Field Representative.