Dairy

Index sorts options

By Country News

Dairy farmers planning to renovate perennial pastures this autumn have been encouraged to use Dairy Australia’s Forage Value Index to select the right rye-grass for their farm and ensure they are making the best decisions for the year ahead.

The FVI tool enables farmers to select perennial rye-grass cultivars that will deliver the best possible pasture based on their location, farming system and forage needs.

Dairy Australia farm profit and capability manager Peter Johnson said the index ranked the performance of more than 20 of Australia’s most popular perennial rye-grass cultivars, relative to typical climatic conditions across the country’s south-eastern dairy regions.

‘‘Dairy Australia recognises that the year ahead will be challenging for dairy farmers, with high feed and water prices affecting farm profitability for many,’’ Mr Johnson said.

‘‘By giving farmers the tools to put a really strong evidence base behind their decisions, the FVI can make a real difference to farm profitability.’’

Australian dairy farmers invest about $80million each year on renovating pastures with perennial rye-grass cultivars.

‘‘Before the FVI, there was very little independently-tested information on the traits and capabilities of these existing cultivars so farmers tended to stick with what they knew,’’ Mr Johnson said.

‘‘Now they have an accurate and reliable way to assess the economic value of individual cultivars, it’s a lot easier for farmers to make the decision to invest in pasture renovation and increase their productivity and profitability.’’

To be included in the FVI, each cultivar must have seasonal yield data from at least three, three-year trials using strict experimental protocols.

Cultivars are then scored by multiplying their seasonal yield against the economic value, as determined by case studies in different dairy regions.

The FVI tables have been recently updated with the inclusion of the results of several pasture trials conducted in southern Australia.

More cultivars have been included and additional trials of current cultivars have extended the scope of the FVI tables.

■For more information, go to: www.dairyaustralia.com.au/FVI