Knight – the Italian ryegrass protecting coastal dairy system productivity

Rob Harborne, AusWest Seeds, South East NSW

Knight Italian Ryegrass

When autumn/early winter feed is at a premium in coastal dairy systems for consistent milk production, Knight a fast establishing diploid Italian ryegrass, is proving a standout for many producers. Matching the improved performance of new pasture varieties with superior animal genetics leads to improved production and profitability.

Bred for Australian conditions Knight is ideal for grazing, silage and hay production. With emphasis on quick establishment and high autumn and winter yields, Knight is a mid-late heading variety (+19 days) with excellent rust tolerance and low aftermath seed head. These traits allow Knight to produce a greater quantity and higher quality feed later into the season.

Where seasonal conditions allow, Knight will also perform strongly in second year production.

Knight Italian Ryegrass Nov 16
Knight Italian ryegrass
Research and independent trials show Knight performs consistently well in a range of coastal dairy systems spread from the south coast through to the central and mid north coast regions, where management allows pasture varieties to exhibit their true genetic potential. Knight, with its improved drymatter production, has replaced the long term favourite Crusader Italian ryegrass for many producers. Economics also show that the increased drymatter production from a superior variety like Knight far outweighs the additional seed cost over low cost, low performing annual ryegrasses like Tetila.

In 2015 the South Coast of NSW experienced an extremely heavy rain event of over 450mm in a 2 day period leading to extensive flooding of low lying areas. In Berry a paddock of Knight stood up to the challenges of waterlogging and flooding. The paddock, sown at 25kg/ha was totally submerged for 2 days. It maintained the productivity shown prior to the flooding event with no evidence of rust. The photo shows the recovery of Knight in the paddock and was taken 2 weeks after the flooding event.

Take home Messages

Knight has quick establishment and excellent autumn and winter feed production, combined with good rust tolerance and extended feed quality later into the season providing grazing, silage or haymaking options and makes Knight an excellent choice for protecting the profitability of highly productive coastal dairy systems.

For more information on choosing the right forage brassicas to suit your requirements please contact AusWest Seeds (NSW & QLD) 1800 224 987 or Stephen Pasture Seeds (VIC,SA,TAS) on 03 5335 8055.

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