Don't miss tropical grasses field days

Don't miss tropical grasses field days

Cropping
Winter pasture trials at the Bogan gate site between Bogan Gate and Trundle attracted great interest during a visit by attendees of the recent Trundle Merino ewe competition.
The next field day is on April 13. Mark Griggs photo.

Winter pasture trials at the Bogan gate site between Bogan Gate and Trundle attracted great interest during a visit by attendees of the recent Trundle Merino ewe competition. The next field day is on April 13. Mark Griggs photo.

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Tropical grasses can be a good summer pasture supply and trials are being carried out at Bogan Gate and Lake Cargelligo. Don't miss the field days at both.

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THE potential for tropical grasses in the southern part of the Central West region will be on display in a series of demonstration sites by Central West Local Land Services (CWLLS) at Bogan Gate and Lake Cargelligo.

The sites complement a current trial being run by the NSW Department of Primary Industries on the sowing times and species selection for tropical grasses in southern parts.

CWLLS mixed farming adviser, Callen Thompson, said producers in northern New South Wales had been using introduced tropical grass in their production systems for many decades.

"Species like premier digit grass, bambatsi panic and Rhoades grass have been shown to increase production while providing good ground cover and drought tolerance," Mr Thompson said.

"As we move into a changing climate, with an increase in summer dominant rainfall, producers in the Central West are looking at options to fit tropical pasture species on their farms."

Field Day dates at Bogan Gate, "Mountain Glen", Monumea Gap Road, 2:00pm to 3:30pm, Tuesday, April 13, and Lake Cargelligo, "Wilga Park", Yelkin Road, 8.30am to 10.30am, Wednesday, April 14.

Tropical grasses only grow in summer in the Central West, going dormant in winter. Species that do not go dormant are not suitable for sowing in areas that receive frosts.

They are a C4 plant which means they are able to grow a significant amount of dry matter and are tolerant to hot dry conditions, unlike some of the introduced temperate pasture species commonly sown.

Tropical grasses have a wide range of soil types they can grow on, Mr Thompson said, with species such as premier digit tolerant to acidic soils and bambatsi panic suited to alkaline soils, even those susceptible to water logging.

"Tropical pastures have their best fit in cropping areas, which may be unproductive due to soil constraints, slope or location.

"Paddocks can be sown to tropicals to get good ground cover quickly and may never have to be farmed again.

"Tropical pastures can provide a large bulk of feed in summer months. Feed quality can be lower than some commonly used temperate species, but if managed well, they can produce very reasonable weight gains."

Each demonstration site has 17 different grass and legume varieties, meaning producers will be able to see what is working in their environment.

The demonstration sites also give producers and advisors an opportunity to learn from LLS staff how to identify different species while discussing species suitability, paddock preparation and establishment.

This project is supported by CWLLS, through funding from the Australian Government's National Landcare Program.

NSW DPI has provided technical support as well as the use of the trial planter. Seed was supplied by Barenbrug, Selected Seeds and Agrimix Pastures.

Contact Callen Thompson, 0417 348 687 or email callen.thompson@lls.nsw.gov.au

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