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BioAg
Trial

Location
(Various states) Australia
Conducted by
BioAg

Growing winter feed pasture trial 2016

Of all the factors that influence winter pasture growth, low temperatures generally have the greatest impact, and can lead to winter feed-gaps. Developing a strategy that manages feed supply and stock demand is critical. An option is to produce more feed than required for stock during the period of late summer to early autumn. This provides a ‘bank’ of feed for use over the winter period when growth is reduced. This process of promoting the production of excess feed prior to winter is referred to as a feed-wedge. In the winter of 2016, BioAg agronomists ran a series of trials investigating the optimisation of winter pasture growth and developing a winter-feed wedge. The trials were conducted in Tasmania, Victoria, South Australia, and New South Wales over predominately improved pastures (mainly rye-grass and phalaris base). Dry matter (DM) responses along with quality (protein and metabolisable energy) were measured.

Aim

To evaluate a range of products with a view to optimising winter pasture production and producing extra feed to support grazing over winter.

Method

The analysis was done using small plot replicated trials with applications of BioAg Balance & Grow, Gibberellic Acid (GA), and Nitrogen (N) applied as UAN tested against a nil treatment. These products were applied separately, as well as in various combinations, with the idea of evaluating what combination provided the most value in terms of dry matter production and overall feed quality.

Results

Comparing the results from each trial site, the most effective combination for producing dry matter was Balance & Grow with GA and UAN. This gave an extra 22kg dry matter growth per day over the treatment period (average of 32 days over the June/July months). The best individual treatment (over all plots in all states) was a Balance & Grow with GA treatment in Northern NSW, which grew over 2t/ha of extra dry matter over that of the nil treatment. Both these combinations (Balance & Grow/ GA/ UAN and Balance & Grow/ GA) produced statistically significant growth compared to the nil treatment. All treatments gave a positive result over the nil treatment.

winter feed pasture trial cuts in field

Conclusion

These pasture trials have shown that BioAg’s Balance & Grow is very cost effective and beneficial to most pasture production scenarios. Utilising it along with GA has been shown to produce almost as much dry matter as when including a nitrogen source in the mix, but at around half the cost.

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 For the full trial, including methods, results and conclusion, download here.