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Clarence / Waipapa - Grasses and Clovers: Companion Trial - Farmers Field Visit 8 June 2015 2pm - 4pm

Days Presenter - Robert Dent B AgSci (Hons)CPAg. Plant breeder, Farmer, Businessman. Robert operates a Government reserch farm near Launceston in Tasmania, AUST.

First of all, thankyou to Derek and Ben Milton for allowing us the use of the site, Robert and Jane Dent for travelling to and imparting your knowledge with us regarding these new cultivars and the impact they are having in dryland situations and NZ Beef & Lamb for advertising the event and attending.

Robert Dent, our Tasmanian breeding expert was on site to present the range of TasGolbal pasture species within this trial. Visual comparisons and discussions of the presented cultivars were made but no comments were made on other companies species.
Derek Milton explained that the trial site was formed when State Highway 1 was re-aligned to the new bridge 45 years ago. The soil today is made up of sand shingle, clay, soil and stones etc. This makes the site demanding by normal standards but ideal for dryland pasture trial.
Be careful when considering DM production on dryland sites. Sites with 4 metres of top soil wont give the same results as tough hill country properties when decisions are based on the DM aspect of a cultivar - expected results can be very different!

As expected grass is the productive species. Site has been well grazed and is recovering from the summer drought.

I have rated the grass species as observed with the clover companions. Scored 1 - 10 : 10 being best.

Exceltas coloured Brome 5 High seed drop, high plant numbers
Gala grazing Brome 5 High seed drop, high plant numbers
Prosper Tall Fescue 7 Very fine leaf - promising
Easton Tall Fescue 7 Promising
Maru Phalaris 2 Plant numbers too low
Kahu Timothy 8 Surprising standout
Uplands Cocksfoot 7 Very fine leaf - promising
Megatas Cocksfoot 7 Promising
Savvy Cocksfoot 7 Promising
Aberdart Ryegrass 3 Under stress
Samson Ryegrass 3 Under stress

Cocksfoots, Tall Fescues and Timothy are the standouts.

Clover score is based on plant numbers only.

Rubitas red clover 6
Runner II Lucerne 5
Lusa Persian clover 5
Balansa clover 6
Strawberry clover 6
Woogenellup sub clov 8

Other clovers have either very low or nil visibility. This should all change by Oct - Nov.

As expected 15mnths after seed sowing a variation between the companion species is evident with some combinations working better together than others. This spring we will score each plot for clover activity.

A site visit will be organised again Oct/Nov 2015.

Below is a document outlining observations from the field in April 2015

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