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Australia - New soft-leaf cocksfoot from Seed Force provides quality summer feed oasis

February 28, 2020


Shepparton trial site – SF Oasis (left) v SF Lazuly (right)


Seed Force has released SF Oasis, its third soft-leaf cocksfoot in Australia, building on the success of this new high-quality type, initially launched with SF Greenly in 2008 and followed by SF Lazuly in 2009.

All three varieties have been bred by RAGT in France, a cornerstone Seed Force shareholder and the main supplier of the company’s improved plant genetics which are marketed throughout Australia.

Cocksfoot has typically been used in high aluminium soils and marginal ryegrass regions, due to its improved persistence over perennial ryegrass. It has good persistence in most soil types, handles low fertility and acid soils, but is more sensitive to long periods of waterlogging.

David Gould, Seed Force

Due to its lower feed quality, cocksfoot has traditionally been relegated to the bottom of the list of preferred grasses to include in pasture mixes by livestock producers. However, since the introduction of these high-quality soft-leaf types by Seed Force many producers are now using them to replace paddocks previously sown to perennial ryegrass or tall fescue.

According to Seed Force territory manager, David Gould, this has resulted in the annual use of cocksfoot in Australia almost doubling over the past decade.

“RAGT developed this new type of cocksfoot due to the lack of persistence of perennial ryegrass in local regions of southern France, with temperatures ranging from -10° to +40°C. They focused on breeding quality into a highly persistent species with outstanding success,” he said.

“We saw this in our early trials in Australia, where stock selectively grazed the RAGT cocksfoots when grazing off perennial grass trials, including perennial ryegrass, tall fescue, phalaris and cocksfoot.

“We screened many cocksfoot types but focused our efforts on the new soft leaf varieties as they can deliver both high yields and much improved feed quality.”

SF Oasis multiplication block

SF Oasis is slightly later flowering and will produce much more summer feed than SF Lazuly. Where more winter feed is also required, it can be mixed with SF Jeronimo prairie grass in higher summer rainfall regions such as northern NSW or with SF Maté phalaris in southern regions.

“Based on RAGT’s experience, Seed Force trialled different sowing rates for cocksfoot and found better quality and more successful establishment at higher seeding rates than previously used in Australia,” Mr Gould continued.

“We now recommend sowing at 8-12kg/ha when used as the sole grass in a mixed pasture sward, which is still considerably cheaper per hectare than perennial ryegrass sown at 20-25kg/ha or tall fescue sown at 16-20kg/ha.

“These new soft-leaf cocksfoots can be sown at higher density rates for intensive dairy and beef operations to provide a more persistent pasture option than perennial ryegrass, with no adverse animal health effects and resistance to most plant pests such as African black beetle.”

Cocksfoot relative seasonal performance – relative to Porto = 100%

Variety Autumn Winter Spring Summer Total no. of trials
SF Lazuly 98 102 107 107 106 5
SF Oasis 97 100 109 121 105 5
SF Greenly 91 98 107 104 102 5
Kara 89 102 104 102 100 4
Porto 100 100 100 100 100 5
Vision 95 96 102 107 99 4
Safin 100 90 98 101 98 1
Howlong 84 104 110 78 98 1
Currie 82 101 81 94 88 1

*Varieties sown in up to five, three year replicated trials, including Armidale and Warrnambool 2012, Gloucester 2013, Penshurst 2015 and Shepparton 2016.

Cocksfoot total yield performance by site – kg DM/ha/year

Variety Armidale
Total %Porto Total %Porto Total %Porto Total %Porto Total %Porto  
SF Lazuly 5,121 100 5,260 100 13,648 124 7,459 96 15,565 107 106
SF Oasis 5,527 108 5,451 104     8,406 108 14,683 101 105
SF Greenly 5,037 99 5,095 97 13,455 122 7,033 90     102
Porto 5,102 100 5,237 100 10,984 100 7,810 100 14,485 100 100
Kara 5,159 101 5,349 102 12,329 112 6,724 86     100
Vision     5,156 98     7,996 102 14,395 99 99
Safin                 14,234 98 98
Howlong             7,648 98     98
Currie     4,613 88             88

*trials sown at 10kg/ha. Armidale, Warrnambool and Gloucester sites managed by Seed Force. Penshurst site managed by AgriResults. Shepparton site managed by Eurofins.

More news from: Seed Force Pty. Ltd.

Website: http://www.seedforce.com.au

Published: March 5, 2020

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