Get your pasture and seed sorted

Dec 2016

Generally, a lot of thought goes into what variety of winter crop to grow. When it comes to pastures, often selection comes down to what is most readily available in the market place.

Often this can mean that the species or variety of particular species selected for use in pasture is not optimised. Consequently, pasture production and persistence can be compromised.

Significant differences exist within and between pasture varieties with respect to their growth, maturity time and persistence. For example, within annual pasture legumes, early flowering types are generally better able to grow and set seed in more marginal rainfall areas.

If you use a later maturing type in lower rainfall areas, it is likely it will not be able to produce seed or adequate quantities of seed to be persistent in the long-term.

Vise-versa, if very early season types are used in higher rainfall areas, then you may miss out on potential production due to the plant completing its lifecycle very early in the season.

Where temperate perennial grasses are to be used in mixes, it is also important to be aware of the impact of dormancy on survival. For example, in tall fescue there are summer active and winter active varieties. Summer active varieties require higher summer rainfall to persist compared to winter active varieties.

If you choose the wrong variety for the wrong climate, then persistence will be affected.

So in short, start thinking now about what species and varieties you might be including in pasture mixes to be sown in autumn 2017.

Talk to you seed supplier to find out about availability and give yourself time to find alternatives if your first choice is not available.

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