Management

Farmers embrace Knight Italian rye-grass

By Dairy News

The fast-establishing Knight Italian rye-grass is being embraced by farmers, who are seeing its ability to deliver outstanding growth and performance.

Ballarat’s Graham Fagg, who first began using Knight Italian rye-grass as part of his pasture renovation program, said having recently learned about some of the benefits, he decided to trial it as a winter grazing crop in a couple of his paddocks, with what he describes as “great success”.

Mr Fagg runs 5000 cross-breed merino sheep on 600 ha and sowed about 48 ha with Knight Italian rye-grass across two paddocks in autumn 2018.

“It only needed minimum tillage, and we used an air seeder, sowing with a seven-inch spacing alongside MAP fertiliser at about 100 kg per hectare,” he said.

“We also put it in on its own, with no irrigation.”

He said he chose the Italian diploid variety mainly because of its grazing tolerance, and found it was a lot quicker to establish than other varieties he’d used.

“It seemed to hang on very well,” he said.

“It’s done an exceptional job so far. We had about 500 ewes and lambs on it, and it’s really lived up to its reputation as a solid grazing crop.

“We’ve seen a number of benefits already.

“It’s definitely improved our livestock nutrition. The stock always looks healthy and they’ve gained good weight.

“It’s also got great palatability, and the vigorous growth has been incredible. I couldn’t get over how much it just kept growing, even through the colder months.

“We had a little bit of cape-weed, and a few redlegged earth mites, but they didn’t seem to stop the rye-grass at all.”

For Stephen Pasture Seeds territory manager Michael Grant, Knight Italian rye-grass is setting the benchmark for Italian rye-grasses, and for several reasons.

“Knight is very quick to establish and can be over-sown into old thinned out old pastures improving these paddocks dramatically.

“A good tip is to sow early and get your seed Kickstart treated to protect the seedlings from redlegged earth mite and other insect pests.

“With the right preparation, Knight’s growth through winter is exceptional.

“Its high winter activity is its main claim to fame, and its ability to recover and regrow after grazing is excellent — and in a good season, you can also get a second cut later in the spring.”

For more information on Knight Italian Rye-grass, visit www.ausweststephenseeds.com.au