Savvy cocksfoot, the versatile summer active perennial

Simon Hunt, Stephen Pasture Seeds, Gippsland and Melbourne

Savvy Cocksfoot
Since its release, Savvy cocksfoot has been sought after for its adaptability to a range of farming systems. Cocksfoot is suited to free draining soils and generally most are summer active, with Savvy being a summer active type. They are also deep rooted and quite hardy, this characteristic helps cocksfoot persist in environments where ryegrass may fail to persist.

Cocksfoot is slower than ryegrass to establish, however can be used, in mixed pasture with clovers, as a companion species with chicory or Tonic plantain, in a mix with tall fescue or phalaris, and even as a component in a ryegrass based pasture, making it a very versatile species. The cocksfoot seed is smaller than ryegrass, one kilogram can contain approx. one million seeds, and should be sown just below the soil surface, no deeper than 10mm.

Savvy is a high yielding, summer active cocksfoot which is very leafy. It can provide quality summer feed where summer rainfall or irrigation is available. These characteristics make Savvy an adaptable variety that can be used across a number of environments with a medium to high minimum annual rainfall of 650 mm.

At Marshdale, Agricom New Zealand’s research farm, Savvy has been used extensively in grazing and animal performance trials. In these trials, Savvy has been shown to yield as much quality dry matter as ryegrass. In Australia, Savvy is being well accepted as a leading cocksfoot variety and very good results have been achieved in dry matter production and animal performance.

Savvy is well suited to beef and sheep enterprises and is best managed with rotational grazing. It also has a fit in dairy enterprises that are having trouble with ryegrass persisting, for example in lighter soil types, providing quality milker feed. It can respond to those summer showers, providing sought after green feed, when other species may not respond.

Savvy can be sown with clover, sowing rates in this situation are between 5-10kg per hectare plus clover. Savvy can also be part of a mix with other deep rooted species with clover and even chicory or Tonic plantain, rates of Savvy in these mixes may vary from between 1 -6 kg/ha, depending on location, rainfall, soil fertility and what else is included in the mix.

On a recent November study tour of the New England area of New South Wales, several paddocks containing Savvy cocksfoot were inspected. The uses of Savvy on two different properties in two different districts are detailed below.
Savvy cocksfoot | AusWest & Stephen Pasture Seeds
New pasture containing Savvy cocksfoot near Armidale NSW. Note the strong drill rows of new pasture 
Savvy cocksfoot was used successfully in combination with Hummer tall fescue, Gala brome, red and white clover on another property we visited near Armidale, NSW. As the picture shows this pasture was newly sown.

Paddocks on this property contained a number of soil types and were also undulating.

The Savvy was included to suit the lighter soil types of the paddock, and give summer growth, the Hummer was included to suit heavier soil types and wetter areas of this particular paddock, and also help with summer pasture production. The Gala brome provides winter growth, and red and white clovers will fix nitrogen for the grasses and add to the overall feed quality.
As well as being used in combination with ryegrass, Savvy can also be drilled into older thinning lucerne paddocks to provide a productive grass component complementing the lucerne. This photo was taken on a sheep and beef grazing property at Loy Yang, near Traralgon in south eastern Victoria. It has been mainly grazed, however it was recently cut for silage. Savvy regrowth can be seen in the picture.
Savvy cocksfoot | AusWest & Stephen Pasture Seeds
Savvy regrowth after a recent silage cut in an older lucerne stand near Traralgon VIC. Note Savvy in the drill rows

Take home messages

  • Savvy is a productive and leafy summer active cocksfoot
  • Cocksfoots are deep rooted and best suited to lighter, well drained soils
  • Savvy is a versatile variety and can be used in combination with a number of different species
  • Cocksfoots are slower to establish than ryegrass, have a smaller seed and shouldn’t be sown too deep
  • Savvy is suitable for use in beef, sheep and dairy enterprises in 650mm plus rainfall areas
  • Savvy is best suited to rotational grazing
The paddock pictured here is near Guyra NSW. It, contains Savvy as the major grass species as well as Gala grazing brome, sub and white clover and Tonic plantain. This particular paddock has been grazed with steers being backgrounded for the feedlot, with the winter growth rate attained by the cattle grazing this pasture being 1.1kg/ha/day, which is very good for this time of year. The Savvy cocksfoot was included in the pasture mix in this situation due to the predominance of summer rainfall in this region. The well-drained soil with undulating topography meant it is well suited to cocksfoot.
Savvy cocksfoot | AusWest & Stephen Pasture Seeds
Savvy cocksfoot in a pasture blend near Guyra NSW

Share this page