We’ve called Captain a ‘cool season plantain (CSP)’ due to its extra growth in this period, the most valuable feed in farm systems, with environmental advantages too. Captain also has excellent summer yield and drought tolerance.
Outstanding cool season production
Captain CSP yields significantly more through the cool season period as shown in the graph below. Plantains vary hugely in winter growth, as you can see in the photo below.
Reduced N Leaching
Initial investigations indicate that plantain can mitigate N leaching via a number of mechanisms, including direct activities on soil N mineralisation and direct uptake of N through growth. The greater cool season activity of Captain CSP will enhance both of these mechanisms when it is most needed, as N leaching mainly happens when soils are wet through the late autumn, winter and early spring.
Captain CSP (centre) showing its significant cool season yield advantage over other cultivars on 30 July at Courtenay 190m ASL.
High total DM yield
Captain CSP produces strongly across the other seasons too. It's deep roooting, with high summer yield providing additional protein and feed quality over the warmer months, particularly in summer dry areas.
Plantain is easily digestible, improving stock appetite especially over dry summer months when grasses are of lower feed quality. It is also higher in essential minerals like P, K, S, Ca, Mg, Na, Zn, Cu, B and Co than ryegrass/clover pastures.
Captain CSP is a distinctive narrow-leaved plant with upright growth habit for high utilisation. It has a deep, coarse root system, and good compatibility with other species. It has good persistence, and can last three years under good management.
Sheep, beef and deer systems
Captain CSP can be used as a high LWG finishing crop, for example mixed with red, white, and annual clovers. Here the annual clovers (Persian, balansa) provide most of the LWG through the first year, with red and white clovers providing it after that.