A pasture blend of ryegrass, clover and medic has proved an ideal option for both dryland and irrigation on the property of David Pitt at Wistow, south of Mt Barker in the Adelaide Hills of South Australia. Mr Pitt planted SowSmart Winter Express to much of the farm this season after good results from the blend the previous year. SowSmart Winter Express is a blend of Tetrone and Abundant Annual Italian ryegrasses, Turbo Persian and Alexandria Berseem clovers and Cavalier spineless burr medic. The blend was generally direct-drilled into old pastures that had suffered through years of dry conditions with the majority of the irrigated section sown in mid to late April and the dryland section from May through to June. Mr Pitt said the feed from the blend was excellent through a very good season and dairy cows were first allowed to graze the paddocks when the feed was 4 to 5 inches in height.
The herd was then gradually rotated around the farm through both irrigated and dryland sections for the next six months. Initially the 200 cows grazed a four acre section per day but as the feed increased the daily paddock size was cut down to two acres and eventually one acre. All of the irrigated sections were grazed right through although some of the dryland areas were shut up and taken for silage with a cut in late October. Mr Pitt said the regrowth from the paddock was so good that a second cut was achieved early in the summer months when the crop was a foot in height. He said the mix of ryegrass, clovers and medics was ideal with the ryegrass providing good early feed and the clovers coming into their own later in the season.
The first cut of silage had a good proportion of ryegrass with the subsequent cut showing more clover. Calving on the property starts in May and continues through July and August with the majority born during the month of September. The use of the SowSmart Winter Express blend works particularly well with the feed becoming available at a time when the milking cows require high quality forage. During a very wet winter some of the paddocks were trampled and eaten down to mud and Mr Pitt said it was surprising the way the blend responded and grew back in spite of the setback. A seeding rate of 23 kilograms per hectare was used throughout the property which provided good establishment in both the irrigated and dryland sections. Mr Pitt said the blend did very well throughout the season and made the most of the good conditions by providing valuable grazing and silage options.
David Pitt, Wistow, Adelaide Hills