PGG Wrightson Seeds and Incitec Pivot are pleased to announce a joint Pasture Renovation Proof of Concept initiative. The parties are excited to demonstrate the process, challenges and benefits of pasture renewal in a real life, on farm scenario. 

This activity involves seed, fertiliser, and advice being provided to two Victorian farmers to renovate their poor-performing pastures at no cost by the parties.

During the pasture Renovation Proof of Concept activity and with the assistance of local PGG Wrightson Seeds (recently combined with Stephen Pasture Seeds and AusWest Seeds and called DLF Seeds) and Incitec Pivot agronomists, the farmers participating will follow the PGG Wrightson Seeds Programmed Approach® to pasture renewal to optimise their operation and turn their poor performing pastures into high-performing paddocks.

There is always a reason why a paddock is not performing and to identify and rectify this, the Programmed Approach provides farmers and agronomists with an easy to follow, 10-step process.  Steps 1 to 3 aim to identify why the paddock is underperforming and start the improvement process by spraying the paddock out with the first autumn application of glyphosate, applying capital fertiliser/lime, and planting annual ryegrass in autumn (Step 4).

IMAGE DISPLAYS NATIVE/UNIMPROVED PASTURE GIPPSLAND: Available pasture cover 280kgDM/ha (in photo) with a grazing interval of 78 days.

In May 2021, two poor-performing pastures with low soil fertility, unwanted weed species and a high percentage of native grasses were identified (Step 1 of the Programmed Approach) in Terip Terip and Gippsland Victoria. After the team (farmers and agronomists) identified the paddocks, they conducted soil tests (Step 2) to confirm soil fertility and show any soil deficiencies before applying capital fertiliser (phosphate and lime). During this phase (Step 1 to 4), Incitec Pivot Ltd provided establishment fertiliser and capital fertiliser for both properties, followed by Urea to boost pasture growth heading into spring.

For autumn planting (Step 4) PGG Wrightson Seeds, supplied Ascend annual ryegrass seed to both farms. Ascend was selected for its improved early winter production and late-season quality to provide quick feed during renovation. This also allowed for the first glyphosate application (Step 3) in autumn (when spraying out). Both paddocks were planted after sufficient autumn rain fell and were sown at 25kg-30kg/ha.The first autumn applications of glyphosate followed by a second autumn application a year later (Step 8) is an integral part of the Programmed Approach and is critical in removing hard to kill perennial weeds.)

IMAGE DISPLAYS ASCEND ANNUAL RYEGRASS/IMPROVED PASTURE GIPPSLAND: Sown mid april at 30kg/ha with available pasture of 1450kgDM/ha (in photo) with a grazing interval of 36 days. 

“So far, we have seen an increase in dry matter produced compared to an unimproved pasture. Pasture quality has lifted and the number of grazings has increased from 1-2 (in the unimproved paddock) to 4-5 grazings of the improved paddock. This has allowed both farmers to produce more dry matter and stock higher numbers on their Ascend annual ryegrass paddock for longer. It has also taken the pressure off other parts the farm/farms and allows pasture covers to lift after coming out of a harsh, wet winter.”

The next steps of the Pasture Renovation Proof of Concept are (Steps 5 to 6) which happen in spring. Depending on ground conditions, Ascend annual ryegrass is sprayed out and the paddock cultivated and/or direct drilled into a summer crop of Rocket Fuel proprietary chicory and clover blend (Gippsland) or a summer brassica crop (Terip Terip). The spring phases allow for another application of glyphosate to clean up weeds, and the Rocket Fuel and summer brassica will provide multiple, high-quality grazing opportunities during summer when feed can be scarce and low quality. The summer crops also allows for the use of selective herbicides, an essential tool for removing summer active grass and broadleaf weeds.

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