Product Used: ML99 Multileaf Lucerne Highly Winter Active
A strip of ML99 lucerne has proven to be the ideal grazing option for dairy cows on the Kerrins’ property at Dhurringile, in the Goulburn Valley in Victoria.
Mick Kerrins said they originally planted lucerne in a 1.5 hectare area four years ago and initially used it successfully for hay and silage.
The paddock is situated just 100 metres from the dairy and, over the last two seasons, the utilisation of the area has changed from fodder production to grazing.
Mr Kerrins said they put a mower into a specific area two to three hours before milking and then allowed the cows to strip graze the ML99 directly from the dairy.
“In the evening they would bolt to the paddock,” he said. “They’d head to it and have a good feed. It’s been amazing.”
The 1.5 hectare area of ML99 provides three nights of grazing for between 190 and 200 cows and forms a valuable part of their overall ration across the summer period.
Grazing of the lucerne is scheduled for every 21 to 22 days which is a bit sooner than what their hay cuts had been.
Mr Kerrins said the hay cuts were always just at flowering but they found the grazing value was better just before the flower sets.
He said production from the lucerne paddock was constant from late September through until it started to slow down in late April.
There was the occasional grazing opportunity across the winter and then the paddock was cleaned for weeds and put into full production for spring.
Super and potash are applied after every grazing and the lucerne is normally irrigated every 14 days across the summer period.
“We don’t treat it like a normal pasture,” Mr Kerrins said. “It is the only way to handle it with the cost of water. We are trying to head towards more water efficient plants.”
He said the ML99 responded particularly well after each grazing and was still producing strongly after four years of production.
“They milk really well on the lucerne. There isn’t any drop-off in production at all.”
In the spring time a further four bays will be sown to lucerne and initially used for hay and silage as the crop establishes before being switched across to a grazing option in the second and subsequent years.
At this stage, the plan is to mow the lucerne in the evening and allow the cows to access it after milking in the mornings.
Mr Kerrins said ML99 lucerne had persisted particularly well with the hay and grazing across the years.
For further media information, please contact Megan Mallick, Marketing and Brand Manager Pasture Genetics on 0499 882 334 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Mick and George Kerrins, of Dhurringile, VIC in a crop of ML99 lucerne which is utilised for grazing on the property