Confederate phalaris is a winter active phalaris that is best suited to 500mm+ rainfall and heavier soil types. It has a similar growth habit to Sirosa and Holdfast. The selection criteria was for strong winter activity combined with low alkaloid production and improved late season growth.
Confederate phalaris was bred in Australia by the PGG Wrightson Seeds Research & Development team and is the first variety of phalaris to come from the PGG Wrightson Seeds dryland grass breeding program. Confederate phalaris has been trialled extensively at Ballarat (VIC), Lismore (VIC), Maryborough (VIC) and central/southern NSW alongside many of the commercially available phalaris varieties. It has shown to be a solid performing winter active variety with excellent seasonal dry matter production, good persistence and the benefit of low alkaloids levels.
Phalaris doesn’t compete well against other species, especially weeds. Planning and preparing a paddock with the intention to sow down a phalaris based pasture is important. Established phalaris plants can compete well for moisture and nutrients if established correctly – leading to improved persistence.
When planning to sow a phalaris based pasture, it is important to know which weeds are present in the paddock and their life cycle. A programmed approach to pasture renewal is a great way to setup your paddock for a long term high performance perennial pasture.
Phalaris is best suited to heavier soil types with good levels of fertility, but can also be sown into lighter soils with good fertility. Phalaris is generally sensitive to acidic soils, so lime applications may be necessary to correct soil pH prior to sowing. Phalaris is a small seeded temperate species and is sensitive to sowing depth. If sown too deep, germination can be poor.
Key points to consider when sowing Confederate Phalaris
Grazing management is important in the first year, if done correctly it will set up a newly sown phalaris paddock for long term production and persistence. Careful consideration should be taken with grazing in the first year, the class of stock to graze with and the amount of time stock are allowed access to a first year paddock of phalaris. Avoid grazing with a heavy stock class especially in wet conditions.
Management should encourage the development of large robust seedlings by the end of spring. Large plants have deeper root systems, stronger tillers and develop larger crowns increasing the prospects for survival through the first summer (NSW DPI).
If sown early and Confederate can withstand pulling, the first grazing should be very quickly and remove a small amount of dry matter. A light grazing will encourage tillering. In most situations it is recommended a phalaris shouldn’t be grazed in the establishment phase, especially if sown late and into cold soils.
Before autumn break, reduce litter to enhance clover germination. Following break avoid grazing for 6-8 weeks but control covers to aid with clover germination.
Winter – Rotationally graze, maintain good covers above 1000kgDM/ha. If set stocked maintain dry matter above 1200kgDM/ha.
Maintain paddocks below 3000kgDM/ha, this encourages clover seed set. Rest paddocks between stem elongation and flowering/seed set. Promoting dormancy in buds.
Supplement cutting – Avoid cutting hay or silage in first 2 years. Delay cutting until after seed head emergence in tough environments. In softer environments recovery and seed head emergence can take place after cutting.
After seeding has occurred, standing dry feed should gradually be removed but maintaining ground cover I also important for erosion control.
As a companion species, Confederate phalaris can be sown with legumes to improve feed quality and increase animal productivity.
Confederate is susceptible to common pasture pests such as blue oat mite and redlegged earth mite, so ensuring that the seed is Ultrastrike treated at the time of sowing will give a good level of protection during the establishment period. It is still critically important to monitor the emerging seedlings and if pest populations are starting to cause damage, then a foliar insecticide may be required to give an improved level of protection. Other pests that can cause damage to phalaris are slugs and snails, so be sure to use bait if you know that these could be a potential risk. Field crickets have also been known to cause damage, especially when establishing phalaris in heavier soils that are prone to cracking over the hot summer months. Confederate has been selected for rust tolerance. Rust can affect feed quality in some environmental and seasonal condition
Minimum 500mm rainfall per annum unless irrigated