Different pasture species require different soil types. Lucerne and chicory prefer free draining soils where as tall fescue can handle heavier soils. A soil test is recommended as pH level and nutrients are a large factor in the success of your pasture. It is important to select acid tolerant species for acidic soils with high aluminium levels.
Type of landscape needs to be considered when choosing a pasture. Steep land or north facing slopes may require a more persistent species where as a wet swamp paddock may be more suitable for a summer active tall fescue to utilise soil moisture.
Rainfall is a large determining factor on what type of species you can grow to maximise production. Regions with low rainfall and dry summers require deep rooted species to survive where as high rainfall cool climate regions are historically suited to ryegrass.
Paddock preparation is one of the most important parts of a pasture resowing program. A firm, well prepared, weed free seedbed is required for success. To do this spraying with a knockdown herbicide is recommended, then cultivation and then another herbicide spray may be required for the germinating weed bank before sowing. Spray grazing or spray topping are other useful tools to manage weeds prior to sowing. Summer cropping is an excellent tool to get a paddock suitable for perennial pasture sowing the following autumn.
Most seed species are best sown at depth of 1-2 cm due to their small seeded nature. Drilling is recommended to obtain strategic placement of seed and seed to soil contact for even germination. Rolling the paddock is recommended on light to medium soils. Sowing rates of different species and type of area to be sown vary so please see specific varieties for sowing rates.
The main insect pest at sowing is the red legged earth mite (RLEM) and more recently slugs. It is recommended to spray insecticide as soon as you see insect activity affecting pasture establishment. Kickstart™ treated seed is recommended as it provides plant protection up to the first 4-6 weeks after sowing.
Annual grass weeds such as barley grass and silver grass can be successfully controlled in established perennial pastures ( perennial ryegrass, phalaris, tall fescue, cocksfoot and Ecotain® environmental plantain). Refer to product labels for rates, talk to an AusWest or Stephen Pasture Seeds agronomist. Monitor your new pasture for weeds, and use appropriate herbicide management to control weeds. Remember that the number of trifoliate clover leaves is important in the timing of spraying broadleaf weeds.
Dairy, beef, sheep, horses, deer, alpaca and goats all require different forages and farming systems.