Exceptional Dairy Pastures Exhibited04 December 2012
NEW ZEALAND - Winners of a competition to identify the Waikato and Bay of Plenty’s best renewed dairy pastures will host field days at their properties in December.
Morrinsville farmer Dave Muggeridge and the Sherriff family from Arohena, are joint winners of the Pasture Renewal Persistence Competition, run by the DairyNZ-led Pasture Renewal Leadership Group.
Both farms were selected for the quality of their three-year-old pastures - the result of good ongoing management before and after sowing.
Judges Tom Fraser, an AgResearch senior scientist, and Andrew Myers, a former winner of the competition, found high levels of white clover and low weed contents in both winning paddocks.
The judges said the success of the pastures, established in 2009, came down to good grazing management, careful pre-sowing preparation and a correct choice of endophyte (AR37).
Tom says the winning farmers demonstrated that pasture renewal is not just about establishing new plants in autumn and expecting them to be present in subsequent years.
“Both farmers took care to avoid overgrazing when pastures came under stress and paid attention to weed control in both the pre and post-sowing period, which ensured a high survival of sown species,” says Tom.
The Sherriffs chose Halo AR37, a tetraploid perennial ryegrass, sown with Kopu II and Tribute white clover. They run a cropping programme prior to renewal, with chicory being the preferred crop. This allows spraying of both grass and broadleaf weeds prior to regrassing.
Dave opted for Commando AR37, a diploid perennial ryegrass, sown with Tribute and Emerald white clover. He has a grass-to-grass renewal programme, which involves spraying existing pasture with glyphosate, a two-week fallow and then cultivation.
Farmers had the option of entering two categories: best Waikato/Bay of Plenty first year pasture sown this year and best Waikato/Bay of Plenty pasture sown more than three years ago.
The quality of the older pastures was superior to the first year pastures, so a decision was made to name two winners in the three year category instead of selecting a winner for the best first year pasture.
TheCattleSite News Desk