Demonstration sites showcase best cultivars for Taranaki, Rangitikei

Farmers around Oakura and Taihape can now get first-hand insight into how a broad range of Agriseeds pasture cultivars perform in their own conditions, thanks to two new local demonstration sites sown in April.

Ashurst agronomist Laura Akers, who is responsible for all Agriseeds’ research trials in the lower North Island, says both new sites reflect the unique conditions in which farmers in these areas must grow and maintain their pastures.


The Oakura site, for example, recognizes that coastal Taranaki has an environmental profile all of its own.

Located on a commercial dairy farm on the Surf Highway, this demonstration block showcases 18 different ryegrasses, ranging from Nui right the way through to the most promising of the current numbered lines still under development by Agriseeds plant breeders. All cultivars have been sown as a mixed sward with white clover, Laura says.


Taihape meantime is a sheep and beef demonstration site, again located on an easily accessible farm and featuring 24 different ryegrass cultivars.


Farmers interested in a closer look at the new early heading perennial ryegrass Tyson will find it there, along with Alto, Arrow, Trojan, Rohan and Governer, plus several promising numbered lines.


Also new to the western lower North Island R&D programme this season is a National Forage Variety Trial for hybrid ryegrass in the Manawatu, which Laura will cut for the next three years to collect yield data; and a plantain trial sown at Ashhurst.


Breeders trials at Taranaki Agricultural Research Station will continue, as will persistence trials at three sites in coastal Taranaki.


Featuring both ryegrass and other pasture species, the persistence trials are now three years old. “Some amazing differences are showing there now. Real standouts, particularly at Manutahi, have been Bareno brome and Safin cocksfoot – they are both looking really strong.”


To enquire about visiting Agriseeds local trial and demonstration sites, phone Laura (021 637 447) or Bruce (021 495 594).