Rainy autumn puts new varieties to the stress test

To test ryegrass in New Zealand’s toughest environment, Agriseeds has a strong focus on trials sown north of Taupo. 


Autumn 2017 saw our technical development team sow a total of 42 new trials (2700 individual plots!) over 14 different sites and farms across the Waikato and Bay of Plenty.


New trials sown consist of ‘breeders trials’ which include all the new crosses bred by our plant breeding team in Canterbury including annuals, italians, hybrids and perennials.


These are all tested and monitored under real farm conditions and animal grazing throughout their life.

On top of this the winners from these breeders trials over past years make it into our more advanced trials.

These include perennial persistence trials, National Forage Variety Trials and demo trials for sales and marketing use and educational type systems work.


This season has not been without its challenges for our research and development team.

Constant rain all over the North Island from February until late April meant trial drilling was challenging but all trials have established successfully.


The vast amounts of rain have mean a lot of nutrient in the system has been lost, getting fertiliser on has also been a challenge at times.


This in itself is somewhat exciting for the agronomists too, as some lines seem to cope better under the stress of this particular season.


This gives us a good idea of varieties that may cope in ‘non-ideal’ establishment conditions.

This below photo is of a hybrid trial sown on the peat (at Kaipaki) in a paddock that was flooded less than a week after sowing and while all the plots have come up fine some of these genetics seem to be coping better than others. 


The stand out lines shown have a range of similar genetics that seem to cope well and things like this are exactly what we are looking for as ‘better is always better’…  Watch this space.