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New release takes annual ryegrass to a new level

New release takes annual ryegrass to a new level

March 5: A new tetraploid annual ryegrass proven to yield 1 tonne dry matter/ha more than old common varieties will help farmers enhance the productivity of their land this season.

That’s the word from Agriseeds, which bred the new cultivar Hogan to replace Archie, and says it will raise the bar for annual ryegrass performance on New Zealand farms.

Hogan’s significant yield advantage over old genetics is valued by the DairyNZ Forage Value Index (FVI) at $380/ha extra profit.

Agriseeds pasture systems manager Graham Kerr says this stacks up to a 10 fold return on investment for the extra $35-$45/ha it costs to sow Hogan compared with Moata or Tama.

“It amazes us how much Moata and Tama seed is still sold, because these cultivars were released well over 30 years ago.

“Those were the days of SMPs, 13 kg lambs and being paid for milkfat! No farmer would use a ram or bull from the 1970s or 80s, so why use seed genetics dating back to the same time?”

In terms of both productivity and profitability Hogan is streets ahead, so it’s a smart investment, particularly given today’s land values, which mean farmers need to get the best production out of every ha.

A key goal in breeding Hogan was rapid plant establishment, which has been measured to be 22 per cent more than Moata and 23 per cent more than Tama, Graham Kerr says.

“Speed of establishment is a key performance attribute for annual ryegrass. The sooner new pasture can be grazed after sowing, the better, particularly coming out of a dry summer.”

Hogan’s rapid establishment is backed up by excellent cool season growth and Hogan is in the top ranking for annual ryegrass in both the National Forage Variety Trials (NFVT) and DairyNZ’s FVI, delivering 1t DM/ha more than Moata or Tama as a six to eight month crop.

The value of this extra feed is high in all farm systems, because it comes at a time when feed is short and can be well utilised.

Graham Kerr says other key features for Hogan include high levels of water soluble carbohydrate (WSC) and the high feed quality associated with tetraploid ryegrasses.

Te Aroha dairy farmer Gareth Turnbull trialled Hogan last season and says his cows definitely preferred it over the other annual ryegrass he sowed in the same paddock.

Morrinsville’s Greg Crawford, Jackson Contracting, says Hogan established well and gave an extremely quick response after the first cut, faster than the other annuals used in his trial last season.

Hogan will be available from your seed merchant ex harvest this autumn and is recommended for sowing at 25-30 kg/ha either as a straight winter crop, or mixed with turnips or oats.


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