Words and image supplied by Seed Force
Latest independent performance trials for New Zealand pastures have reinforced what farmers have already discovered for themselves with one of Seed Force’s leading perennial ryegrasses.
SF Hustle has again come in at the top of the most recent National Forage Variety Trials (NFVT) for NZ below Taupo.
And in the DairyNZ Forage Value Index (FVI), SF Hustle has again achieved a five star rating for both the lower North Island and upper South Island regions.
The FVI has become a critical tool in helping farmers and resellers make more informed, confident and profitable decisions when choosing ryegrass cultivars for pasture renewal programmes.
Achieving five stars highlights cultivars with the highest extra farm operating profit per ha compared to older ryegrass genetics.
DairyNZ calculates that these cultivars have a profit advantage of $423-$605 per ha depending on where they are grown across NZ.
SF Hustle’s success in both the NFVT and FVI, as well as in the market, owes much to intensive global R&D capability combined with NZ-driven selection criteria.
Seed Force’s parent company RAGT re-invests nearly 18 per cent of turnover back into research and plant breeding every year, creating an impressively well-resourced development pipeline.
Add to this the commitment of thoroughly testing and trialling potential new cultivars here in NZ, and you truly have global science delivering proven local performance.
In the case of SF Hustle, by taking high yielding material and combining with the breeding parameters of high tiller density, low aftermath heading and high quality, we’re able to offer the best of both worlds.
While SF Hustle’s performance in both Seed Force’s own local evaluation programme, and industry-wide benchmark rankings has been pleasing, it’s what happens on farm that really counts.
And in this context the cultivar has proved a reliable, persistent option with solid production across the seasons, making it suitable for many systems nationwide.
Increasingly, as we see more of a swing towards resilient and often diversified pasture mixes, farmers are finding that SF Hustle works very well because its semi-upright growth is compatible with other species such as clovers and herbs.
Promoting legume content in pasture allows for fixation of atmospheric nitrogen (N), which is then available for grass growth, a key feature as N caps limit the use of synthetic fertiliser products.
Where summer moisture deficits are likely, many systems are also incorporating resilient species such as cocksfoot into their perennial pastures mixes.
SF Hustle perennial ryegrass pairs well with new generation cocksfoot SF Greenly II for added summer resilience, particularly in high input systems such as dairy farms.
In these situations, the recommended sowing rate will depend on the system and the expected period of summer dry, typically this is between 2-5 kg per ha of cocksfoot with the SF Hustle component reduced to suit.
Once established, the cocksfoot gives added production under hot temperatures, and a greater moisture response than other perennial grass species.
Underpinning SF Hustle’s flexibility is a heading date of +8 days after Nui.
This sets it aside from the majority of grasses in the NZ perennial market which are often much later heading.
Selecting a cultivar with an earlier heading date together with low aftermath heading offers the benefit of early season growth and optimum quality which are important factors when matching pasture production to animal feed requirements.
For more information on SF Hustle and resilient pastures talk to your local Ruralco On-Farm Account Manager.