We have collected a number of useful and informative sources by way of downloadable articles, fact sheets and links that can provide information on different ways to increase production, persistence and drought tolerance.
Species for Profit- A guide to pasture and field crops
This hand book guide is a Department of Primary Industry,
Parks, Water and Environment (DPIPWE) and Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture
Research (TIAR) initiative. The guide provides detailed information on
Tasmanian pasture and field crops. It has images and examples of companion
sowing, it also allows the farmer to pick the right plant for their individual
situations. To download a PDF copy, please click here.
Fact sheet for Exceltas:
Exceltas (coloured Brome) is a very hardy and drought tolerant perennial grass that is mentioned in some of the articles presented below. It is high yielding and long-lived summer active that is available in the state as a possible alternative to perennial ryegrass for the dryer midlands, under low or no irrigation. To see the full fact sheet, please click here.
Fact sheet for Spanish Cocksfoot cv. Sendance:
Sendance is an extremely drought tolerant hardy perennial
forage grass that is adapted for sowing into all well drained soil types of
moderate to high fertility. It also does well in low rainfall temperate areas
receiving less than 600mm average annual rainfall. To read the full fact sheet
please click here.
Fact sheet for Kuratas:
Kuratas (Caucasian clover) is an extremely drought hardy
legume, with a large tap root, that also has a very high cold tolerance. It is
a very persistent perennial clover that can benefit a sward. To read more about
this species, please click here.
KI Creepa fact sheet:
KI Creepa (Variegated lucerne – alfalfa) Is a deep rooted
perennial legume that is good for low rainfall conditions. It is compatible and
does very well in swards of Uplands cocksfoot, Winter active tall fescue and
Phalaris. To read the full fact sheet, please click here.
Why alternative perennials are good for low rainfall
areas research article
This paper argues that there is a need to find other perennial grasses due to the poor drought hardiness of perennial ryegrass, and in response to a changing climate. The researchers looked at multiple different temporal perennial grass and legume species specifically for their tolerance in low to medium rainfall areas. The researchers also discuss pasture persistence, and they identify a number of species that show high tolerance that are superior to perennial ryegrass. These include Hispanic cocksfoot (D.glomerata ssp hispanica). It’s two cultivars Uplands and Sendace Megatas (Dactylis glomerata) and Exceltas (Bromulus coloratus) can also survive extremely dry periods,Some of the legume species are KI Creepa and Kuratas. To read the full publication, please click here.
Companion sowing with Rubitas: research article
This research paper is on companion sowing and investigates whether adding stoloniferous red clover (Trifolium pratense cv. Rubitas) to a sward of perennial ryegrass and phalaris at establishment phase can increase dry matter yield. Rubitas red clover is a perennial clover with good drought tolerance. The researchers tested at multiple growth stages and found that the increase in dry matter was significantly higher when the sward included red clover. This was the same for both phalaris and perennial ryegrass, however phalaris had the highest dry matter yield of the two. The phalaris and red clover mix showed a 75 percent increase, which was higher than phalaris grown alone. To read the full article, please click here to download.
Chicory more hardy than ryegrass:research article
This paper argues that perennial ryegrass is not drought tolerant enough in low irrigation and low rainfall pastures, but also that it is intolerant to heat waves. It suggests that alternative temperate forage species such as Chicory (Cichorium intybus L., cv. Grasslands Puna) remains a very useful hardy species. Their study found that out of ten forage species, chicory performed the best. It had a superior tolerance to heat stress and moisture deficit and that it continued to produce above ground growth even after repeated exposure to stress (such as heat and dry conditions). Considering continued climate change and extended dry conditions, alternative species are very relevant. To read the full report, please click here.
Intensive grazing systems in low rainfall regions that
need higher irrigation could try a different perennial grass research article
This paper suggests that due to a changing climate and the lower rainfall areas of the Tasmanian midlands needing more irrigation, changing from the typical perennial ryegrass is of primary importance. The researchers tested 29 different grass and legume species in comparison to ryegrass under irrigation. The results of the study were that under irrigation, coloured brome performs as well as ryegrass and could be considered to be just as appropriate. Read more here.
Snapshot of pasture qualities : Information
Tasmanian pasture resource audit: Snapshot of functional group composition in 2011
Rowan Smith, Ross Corkrey, Gary Martin, Brian Field and Peter Ball
A report from a pasture survey of sampled pastures throughout the state shows the productivity and quality of improved pastures in Tasmania. In Tasmania it has been widely suggested that perennial pastures should contain 60-70% of improved perennial grasses with the remainder made up of a suitable legume for optimum productivity. It found that most pastures, at the time of the survey, were dominated by weedy annual grasses. Further, that the use of improved perennial grasses was very low. It provides some justification for developing improved pastures in order to maximise pasture persistence and health.