Picking the best mix of pastures for red meat farms can be easier said than done, because so many variables and goals have to be factored into the decision.
But now there’s a better way to improve your odds of getting a perfect fit.
And with spring sowing just around the corner, there’s no better time to make the most of it.
Between them, three new-generation perennial ryegrasses from Barenbrug literally cover the field, from early feed for ewes and cows with lambs and calves at foot, to persistent, easy-care grazing on the hills.
South Island agronomist Blair Cotching, who leads the pasture systems team at Barenbrug, says Tyson, Governor and Rohan have an ideal balance of features tailor-made for today’s highly tuned red meat systems.
Together they can be used to enhance animal production and farm profitability throughout the year, across multiple seasons, stock classes and land contour.
Tyson, with the earliest spring growth of any perennial ryegrass available, is probably the most topical at this time of year, for good reason, Blair says.
During August and September, when lactating ewes need all the high quality grass they can eat to milk well and keep lambs growing fast, Tyson produces 35% more dry matter than average pasture.
That sets up more lambs for weaning straight onto the truck: “Lambs finished off mum never suffer a growth check, don’t need to be drenched or dipped, and free up feed for other stock,” Blair says.
Governor meantime is the universal all-rounder, a dense, reliable pasture bred for persistence, palatability and high DM yield on the shoulders of the season.
Whether it’s finishing lambs, flushing ewes, or growing out young cattle, this ryegrass is quickly finding favour on parts of the farm which suit a more traditional pasture option.
It is particularly useful on heavier ground which can be prone to treading or pugging damage.
Last but definitely not least is Rohan, NZ’s only spreading ryegrass, developed specifically to improve feed quality and pasture longevity in paddocks where ordinary ryegrass struggles.
“Rohan is unique in its ability to cover the ground,” Blair says. “It creates a thick, robust pasture that can compete aggressively with weeds, stand up to harder grazing pressure and recover better from extended dry periods or other adverse weather events.”
It’s easy care and tastes good too – stock preferentially graze it ahead of other varieties, making it ideal for grazing ewes after weaning, for example.
Seed for Tyson, Governor and Rohan is available for spring sowing now.
For more information on the individual cultivars visit https://www.barenbrug.co.nz/sheep-beef-deer/cultivars/grass/perennial-ryegrass