Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Floren Bluegrass Comes of Age

Floren bluegrass was registered as a cultiver in 1995 in Australia through Plant Breeders Rights, and the IP in the variety is owned by Progressive Seeds.

This year it really seems to have made the big time with reports of the variety outyielding a number of species and varieties on the alkaline black clay soils around central Queensland. Reported yields of 25 large round hay
bales per hectare, outyielding a number of other species.

The exceptional performance of Floren bluegrass on Queensland's Isaac River frontage country inundated by the damaging January 2008 floods, has impressed a gathering of the Marlborough region's cattle producers.

Large tracts of highly productive river country throughout Central Queensland were impacted by the 2008 floods, resulting in prolonged inundation and water-logging that effectively killed off productive grasses.

Experience with Floren bluegrass, a Dicanthium aristatum cultivar first planted in April 2007 as a 25pc component of a shotgun mix of pasture seed sown under a centre pivot encouraged the opportunity for a field day and the 25 neighbouring landholders from along the Isaac and Mackenzie River systems were invited to inspect the resultant Floren bluegrass stand that has dominated and out-competed the post-flood flush of parthenium weed, a very serious weed in the region.

Floren bluegrass is now the dominant pasture species ahead of buffel and bambatsi panic, and despite some obvious denitrification of the grass following the flooding, the owner cut 200 round bales/ha from an 8ha stand in early April. A 24ha stand of forage sorghum baled at the same time after the flood inundation also cut 200 bales, an indication of the superior yield of the bluegrass. There is a bit of perennial v annual yield arguments in that equation too!

DPI&F principal experimentalist Maurie Conway said landholders who were considering introducing Floren bluegrass into non-irrigated river country should be looking at planting rates of 0.5kg/ha.
"The secret of good pasture establishment is to eliminate or reduce the competition and spraying is often the best option," Mr Conway said. "If the job is done right, then half as much seed will do the job but if it is not done properly, twice as much seed will not be enough. "Be sure to use good quality seed, plant when soil moisture is good and ensure good soil to seed contact by using a roller. Because it is highly palatable, stocking rates should be managed to allow the plants to flower and seed in autumn.

"Even with limited plant numbers, once this grass is established, it will seed prolifically and make a valuable contribution to livestock productivity," Mr Conway said.

Have a look at a few additional on line resources as listed below. It might be suitable for some areas in the NT and the NW as well.




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