03 May 2023, AU: Ryegrass pastures play an essential role in Stuart Crosthwaite’s dairy farming operations, but with weeds having a massive impact, his grass crops were suffering. However, that changed once he introduced Tramat® from Bayer into his farming system.
Stuart’s 500 cow dairy farm, ‘The Hermitage’, is located in the Kiewa Valley in North Eastern Victoria. There, he has a split calving program that revolves around the direct grazing of pasture throughout the year.
Ryegrass pastures have formed the base of his family’s farming operations for many years now. With perennial ryegrass planted on the river flats and annual and Italian ryegrass on the more marginal country, Stuart says ryegrass pastures play an important role, as they provide good quality feed for his dairy cows throughout the whole year.
However, with a range of weeds having a negative effect on their productivity throughout winter and spring, Stuart says the pastures have been too thin heading into the warmer months.
“We found the weeds through the winter are having a massive impact on the density and vibrancy of our pastures through the summer and the autumn, so by taking out some of the weeds and reducing the competition in the winter, we are setting our pastures up for the whole year,” Stuart says.
Yenda Producers Agronomist Rikk Thompson, who is based out of Baranduda, reinforced Stuart’s remarks regarding the importance of ryegrass pastures, as well as the weed issues experienced by growers.
“Ryegrass pastures in this region are important because in the high rainfall zones, ryegrass is king,” Rikk says.
“Its metabolisable energy rating is much higher than something like phalaris or cocksfoot, so where you can grow ryegrass, you’re going to preferentially grow it over the top of any other pasture feed source.”
Rikk explains that growers have been able to control broadleaf weeds in ryegrass pastures, but when it comes to grass weeds it is a different story.
“Controlling grass weeds has been quite difficult, and this is where Tramat has a big fit,” Rikk says.
“It controls grass weeds in annual Italian and perennial ryegrass, and we are finding it is doing a great job on barley grass, chickweed and winter grass.”
Rikk says knowing when to apply Tramat 500 SC, containing the active ingredient ethofumesate, is important to maximise the benefits.
“When Tramat is used correctly, the benefits are that it will dramatically reduce weed burden and weed seed set, leading to better nitrogen and water use efficiency of the pasture, especially in the cooler months of winter.”
Having seen how effective Tramat is in a lot of trial work over the last couple of years, Rikk says they are going to keep using it in ryegrass pastures.
“It is not entirely a silver bullet, but it goes pretty close when it comes to controlling grass weeds in ryegrass-based pastures,” he says.
Rikk’s positive experiences and enthusiasm towards Tramat is also widely felt amongst growers, with Stuart saying the results have been fantastic.
“Our experience with Tramat has been really impressive. Over the last year we have been trialling it in a number of cases and the results so far have been amazing,” Stuart says.
“We have seen a complete takedown of the winter grass, the mouse ear chickweed and barley grass.
“I would absolutely recommend Tramat for use in controlling winter grass in ryegrass pastures. It has been a game changer for us and I think it is going to be an amazing tool heading forward.”
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