Climate is one of the most important factors in determining what species will grow and survive on your farm. Annual rainfall and its distribution will affect what species fit. For example in a low rainfall, true summer dry environment Hispanic cocksfoot or Mediterranean tall fescue will fit as they are protected by their summer dormancy traits. Whereas in low rainfall, summer wet environments, continental tall fescues and summer active cocksfoot will have a better fit. Temperature will also influence the species planted as some species have better heat tolerance than others, which will add to their persistence. Conversely those with great heat tolerance can often have lower winter growth rates.
Insects at establishment can have a detrimental effect on new pastures. Red legged earth mite (RLEM) and slugs are some of the most common issues when establishing a new pasture. Being proactive is better than reactive, so best practice is to use an insecticide at spray out and to use slug bait if direct drilling. Seed treatment is the next form of protection as they provide protection for the first four to six weeks after sowing. Kickstart™ is a seed treatment option providing insect control.
Weed control prior to planting is very important. A clean seed bed will enable seedlings to establish with less competition. Post emergence weed control may also be necessary – discuss this at the time with your rural retailer or agronomist.
It is important not to skip any of these steps in a well-planned pasture improvement plan. Success comes from good planning in all facets of your pasture.