Three years after Tyson perennial ryegrass was sown in a National Forage Variety Trial in southern Hawke’s Bay, its performance has surprised even Agriseeds lower North Island agronomist Laura Akers.
New Zealand’s earliest-heading perennial ryegrass ‘just explodes out of the blocks’ in late winter and early spring at the Poukawa trial site, she says.
“By September there is such a visual difference between it and other cultivars in terms of growth, it’s phenomenal.”
Tyson grows 35% more dry matter (DM) than other leading cultivars during early spring, with good year-round yield. Bred from Agriseeds’ best early season producers Meridian and Arrow, it’s been developed to help correct the traditional pasture feed pinch through lambing and calving.
In the Poukawa NFVT, which finished in May, it was sown in a straight sward alongside several other perennial ryegrass cultivars, including old genetics like Bronsyn; proprietary ryegrasses which are currently on the market, and numbered developmental lines.
The NFVT is an independent industry-wide programme which measures seasonal and annual DM yield. Trial plots are cut and measured at regular intervals and data from several different sites is pooled to give overall performance.
“We’ve done our own trials on Tyson in other parts of the country, and we know it has performed well in our system; it’s great to now have it tested in Hawke’s Bay as well,” Laura says.
Ideally suited to red meat producers who want to wean more lambs straight onto the truck, the new cultivar has also attracted the interest of dairy farmers in parts of her region.
“Early spring is a time of peak feed demand for them, too. The ones who have contacted me about Tyson have been looking to spread their pasture heading dates, and spread their risk.”
A new demonstration plot of Tyson was sown in autumn next to an Agriseeds breeders’ trial at Otane. Tyson will be available in limited supply this spring with AR1 endophyte.