Wide-ranging regional research benefits both red meat & dairy

From dryland lucerne under sheep grazing in Wairarapa to more than a dozen Italian and annual ryegrass cultivars in the National Forage Variety Trials in Manawatu, Barenbrug’ lower North Island regional research programme has something for everyone this year.


In total Ashhurst based agronomist Laura Akers is managing 14 Barenbrug research sites in 2017, and says four projects in particular illustrate the scope of the current programme.


Lucerne cultivars under trial in Wairarapa.

Near Masterton, she’s evaluating both lucerne and tetraploid ryegrass, while in Manawatu her work includes a 12 month National Forage Variety Trial alongside an advanced yield trial for the latest up and coming perennial ryegrasses created by Barenbrug plant breeders.


Sown last spring, the Wairarapa lucerne trial is among her newest and features 12 cultivars, both current market standards and potential new lines. It’s an observation trial under normal lamb grazing; a key goal is to compare different winter dormancy periods and seasonal yield.  


Meantime the tetraploid yield trial, sown 18 months ago on an irrigated dairy farm, is now generating useful data for Barenbrug lines under development for possible future market release, Laura says. Currently she’s cutting this every three weeks to record DM production.


The 14 entry 12 month NFVT yield trial for Italian and annual ryegrass on a dairy farm near Palmerston North is also a cutting trial, and finishes shortly.


As for the advanced yield trial of Barenbrug’ new and existing diploid perennials next door, “that’s my favourite!” Laura says. “Tyson was phenomenal in spring, and we have another standout new line coming up that I am really excited about – it just loves summer.”


With 12 entries, this trial was sown a year ago, and will run until next autumn. As well as cutting it for DM yield data, Laura is keeping a close eye on other agronomic factors like rust and aftermath heading.


To find out more about the regional trials, phone Laura Akers (021 637 447).