New brassica a palatable option for farmers

Michael Grant, Stephen Pasture Seeds, Western Districts VIC

Mainstar Forage Rape logo

The recent launch of Mainstar forage rape provides a new summer crop option for farmers looking to be more productive and increase efficiencies within their farming systems. Mainstar has been extensively trialled and evaluated in commercial animal grazing systems prior to its spring release. Farmer feedback across a number of regions, from both spring and autumn sowings, has been excellent about animal acceptance, dry matter utilisation, animal performance, regrowth potential and improved insect tolerance when compared to many of the current mainstream brassica varieties.

In its first season of performance, Mainstar has been defined by very leafy, highly palatable crops with excellent regrowth potential. It has also shown better tolerance to aphid attack and Rutherglen bug compared to other brassicas on the same farms and in grazing demonstrations.

Mainstar_Sept17_Fig1 | AusWest & Stephen Pasture Seeds
Figure 1: Very high aphid tolerance on the same farm. Mainstar is shown on the right compared with Greenland on the left. Warrambeen, VIC

Andrew Kirk the farm manager of Warrambeen a large 4000 hectare Merino sheep/cropping property near Rokewood was one of the first to try Mainstar.

Mainstar rape showed superior tolerance to aphid attack enabling a good wedge of high protein feed to be used into February to grow out our weaner lambs.” Andrew Kirk- Warrambeen, VIC

Stock acceptance of Mainstar forage rape has been outstanding. This improved acceptance, due to increased palatability, has resulted in animals producing more meat, wool or milk. Mainstar has very high levels of edible dry matter and when Mainstar is grazed hard, the plants have the ability to recover and provide strong regrowth for multiple grazing’s, a valuable trait for our farming systems. In fact Mainstar is so palatable to stock it will be critical to monitor stock to prevent overgrazing.

Stuart Kemp of Pasture Wise runs a small prime lamb finishing farm near Meredith.

“I watched the lambs closely to see if they had any preference for the different varieties and how long they took to get stuck into grazing the brassica’s. Within 3 days, the lambs had clearly made a choice and had virtually cleaned up the Mainstar.”

The spring launch of Mainstar forage rape means more growers are going to experience firsthand these exciting results. For more information on Mainstar forage rape contact your local territory manager.

Mainstar_Sept17_Fig2 | AusWest & Stephen Pasture Seeds
Figure 2: Meredith, VIC brassica demonstration site. Mainstar on the right being preferentially grazed compared to traditional forage brassica on left. Photo taken 4 Jan 2017

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