Productive Savvy cocksfoot shines on lighter Victorian soils

With a range of soil types across Daryl Sell’s Victorian dairy farm, Savvy cocksfoot from Stephen Pasture Seeds has been playing a critical role in driving productive pastures.

Savvy has been particularly successful on sandy soils on the Barongarook property, south of Colac, where tetraploid ryegrass hasn’t been able to persist as well.

“I have grown Savvy for four years now, and have eight hectares of it spread across four paddocks,” Daryl says.

“I’ve only planted a small area of Savvy because I’m just using it to target the lighter soils, particularly on banks.

“It’s been very productive, particularly if you get summer rains, it'll just keep coming back. We've hardly lost a plant over the last four years, the persistence of Savvy has been very good.”

Savvy cocksfoot at Daryl Sell's property at Barongarook, south of Colac.
Savvy cocksfoot at Daryl Sell's property at Barongarook, south of Colac.
Daryl milks 240 cows, and says the deep-rooted Savvy is much more palatable than older cocksfoot varieties.

“The old cocksfoot, they wouldn't eat it, yet the Savvy just fits in with the ryegrass rotation and it's absolutely no different,” he says.

“Even the patches of Savvy in the paddocks where the rest of the paddock is ryegrass, they don't preferentially graze the tetraploids over the Savvy, they just seem to clean it all up together, that's what I like about it, you don't have to make them eat it.”

“From a productivity perspective, if you got summer rain, in tonnes of dry matter per hectare, I think Savvy would actually outshine the ryegrass.”
Patience and a keen eye for the correct agronomics underpin the success Daryl has had with Savvy, particularly with weed control, which he started the spring prior to sowing.

“I sprayed it out in late spring so nothing went to seed and let it fallow over the summer,” he explains.

“I then re-sprayed the following autumn to clean up any residual weeds before direct-seeding Savvy, resulting in a very good strike.

“You have to be patient – it was a bit slow over the first winter and then when it hit spring, got its roots down and established, away it went. It just seems to get stronger every year now.”
Daryl had been planting Savvy with a brome grass, but will leave the brome out moving forward as he believes the cocksfoot is a better variety.

“The brome was visually very similar and there was no preference for the cows for it, but the trouble is, the brome runs to head very early in the year, where the cocksfoot doesn't,” he explains.

“You've then got to cut it for silage or similar, otherwise it gets away from you and goes stemmy.

“That's the other thing I like about the Savvy, it's not something that runs to head readily, so it still remains palatable into the late spring.”

Having proven itself in terms of productivity and palatability on lighter soils, Daryl is keen to increase his planting of Savvy cocksfoot, using it as a flexible partner in his pasture line-up.

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