A range of SowSmart blend options provided quality feed on the Conochie family farm at Kalbar, in the Fassifern Valley of southern Queensland. Stuart Conochie said they sodseeded the blends, which consist primarily of proprietary ryegrass and clover, into old lucerne paddocks. Included in the blends were SowSmart Winter Max, SowSmart Winter Express and SowSmart Winter Feed. The intention of the ryegrass was to provide feed options over winter and spring and enough growth so the paddocks wouldn’t pug up if they needed to graze the area during very wet conditions. Mr Conochie said the clovers were also an important part of the blend and tended to be a factor late in the season as a grazing option and also to add quality to the silage mix. The initial blend was sown into a lucerne stand at the end of March and the remaining areas in the middle of April.
Lucerne had been grazed down or mowed prior to seeding and then the ryegrass and clover blend received a light grazing approximately five weeks after planting. At this stage the cows graze the lucerne and also trim the ryegrass which then encourages it to stool out. Fertiliser is then applied to the area and it is ready to be part of the regular grazing rotation on the property. Mr Conochie said the SowSmart pastures were grown under a centre pivot with each grazing strip approximately 75 metres wide and consisted of 2.5 acres. Initially a 28 days rotation was used with the dairy cows grazing half of the area during the day. During the spring period the rotation was cut down once to every 17 days and some of the area was locked up and cut as round bale silage. “It made beautiful silage,” Mr Conochie said. He said cows on the property calved throughout the year and the SowSmart grazing options helped reach higher milk targets than the previous year. “The milk peaked at half a litre to a litre higher than last year,” he said. Seasonal conditions for the year were not that favourable with very little rainfall recorded from June through to December. Irrigation water was utilised after each grazing and the areas were also well fertilised. Mr Concohie said all three pasture blends performed well with the Winter Max providing grazing options into December.
Conochie family farm at Kalbar, QLD