Halo AR37 delivers productivity with quick establishment in autumn

Persistence and productivity from his ryegrass varieties are at the top of the list for Brett Craig, who milks 220 cows on his dryland dairy operation in Victoria’s Western District.

The Swan Marsh farmer crops turnips and brassicas on 30 per cent of the property, with the rest of the land being sown to perennial pastures, which play a critical role in the operation.

“Pasture feeds the cows when the crops aren’t growing, and as our season is quite short, with grass only growing for six months from May to November, our varieties need to be high-yielding, provide high conversion to milk solids and show good persistence,” Brett explains.

After seeing Halo AR37 tetraploid perennial ryegrass from Stephen Pasture Seeds at some trial sites in 2014, Brett has been growing the variety ever since.

Halo AR37 tetraploid perennial ryegrass is the proven performer, with increased yield and persistent over the competition
Halo AR37 tetraploid perennial ryegrass is the proven performer, with increased yield and persistent over the competition
“I originally selected Halo AR37 due to its impressive persistence and ability to handle heavy grazing and it’s got quite a high sugar content,” Brett says.

“The AR37 endophyte was also a factor, because with some other grasses there’s a couple of beetles that can cause issues with persistence.

“Also, some of the other endophytes in the industry can negatively impact on production, whereas I am confident in our stock health with the AR37 endophyte.”

Fast-forward to 2018 and Brett has half the property sown to Halo AR37.
“I hope to get four to five years out of a stand of Halo AR37, and I renovate a minimum of 25 per cent of the area each year,” Brett says.

“Depending on the weather conditions, I aim to follow a summer crop with a planting of Halo AR37 at the end of March. I’ll power-hoe and airseed it in at 20 kg/ha and clover at 5 kg/ha and find it’s quick to get away.”

“One of the other things that Halo AR37 has over other varieties is that it does persist well in the heat – when it’s warmer, it outcompetes other varieties.”

Brett stocks around 2.4 cows per hectare on Halo AR37, with the grazing length depending on paddock size and weather.

“Our paddocks do get heavily bogged in winter because it can get very wet here, so it can be somewhere around a 25 to 27-day rotation,” Brett says.
“Most importantly, Halo AR37 is about five days quicker to graze than some of the other varieties, which is very valuable as I can get an extra grazing in each season.

“This extra grazing time is backed up by data from satellites, which show our Halo AR37 yields 400 kgDM/ha more than other varieties over a year.”

Heading into the next year, Brett has found Halo AR37 quick to recover in autumn each year, observing that the variety is growing again three weeks after the first rain.

Brett has good perspective on the performance of Halo AR37, as well as other ryegrasses, as he provides contract services around the district.

“I plant grasses for other farmers, and persistence is an important characteristic in pasture for locals - even though we get extremely wet winters, it dries out just as quick as it gets wet, because we’re not an irrigation zone,” Brett observes.

“More of those farmers I contract for should be looking at Halo AR37, and some have actually converted to it.”

“As for this property, I’ll keep on growing Halo AR37 unless a variety comes out that’s better, but there’s nothing on the horizon, I really am pleased with it."

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