David Bentley of Coldstream in Victoria used Sow Smart Winter Express for grazing, silage and hay. A custom blend mix of ryegrasses, and clovers has allowed David Bentley of Coldstream in Victoria to intensively utilise the paddocks through late autumn and winter. Mr Bentley direct-drilled SowSmart Winter Express into existing pastures in late March last season at seeding rates between 20 and 25 kilograms per hectare. “The permanent pastures were struggling so I thought I’d top it up with a bit of Winter Express,” Mr Bentley said. Winter Express was a blend of Tetrone and Rocket annual Italian ryegrasses, Goldstrike Turbo Persian Clover and Goldstrike Alexandria Berseem Clover. Mr Bentley said the ryegrasses grew vigorously early and were able to be grazed by cattle from the end of April. “The ryegrasses showed up early and the clovers came through at the end,” he said.
Strip grazing is implemented to make the most of the available feed and also allow the pasture to recover and regrow. Two of the paddocks were subsequently cut for hay with the remaining sections taken for silage to feed the beef cattle. The hay and silage produced on the property is used through the summer, autumn and early winter at a time where the paddocks are establishing new growth. Mr Bentley said the paddocks held on well and responded well after rain in the early summer period to continue to provide feed. Another paddock on the property was sown down to Outback oats and Goldstrike L56 lucerne into an area that had contained forage sorghum the previous summer. Oats were direct drilled at a rate of 80 kilograms per hectare with the lucerne then cross sown at between 6 and 8 kilograms per hectare. Lucerne was chosen to provide a feed option through the summer months after the oats crop had finished. The Outback oats were taken for silage during the spring. Mr Bentley said he would see how the lucerne performed over the summer period, although there was an option to irrigate the stand if necessary. The SowSmart paddocks will be assessed for their regrowth potential at the start of the next season and further seed may be direct-drilled to bulk it up again. “We like to work it pretty hard,” Mr Bentley said.
David Bentley of Coldstream in Victoria