August 2020 Update: ASHEEP / MLA Pasture Variety Trials

Article by India Warren-Hicks (South East Agronomy Research)



Grass Patch (11 varieties x 4 replications):

· Illabo Wheat 80 kg/ha

· Planet Barley 80 kg/ha

· RM4 Vetch 25 kg/ha

· Tetila Ryegrass 12 kg/ha

· Mawson Subclover 6 kg/ha

· SARDI Grazer Lucerne 5kg/ha

· Casbah Biserrula 5kg/ha

· Cobra Balansa Clover 5kg/ha

· Snail Medic 5 kg/ha

· Leafmore Grazing Brassica 5 kg/ha

· Paradana Balansa Clover 5kg/ha


Image: Planet Barley 17WAS, Grass Patch


The Grass Patch trial site has been the standout of the three pasture variety trials in the Esperance Port Zone. Prior to sowing, soil cores were taken across the trial site and the subsequent soil test results highlighted both good nutrition and soil structure. There are high levels of N, P, K and S to 30cm and pH(CaCl) steadily increases from 6.8 at the surface to 8.6 at depth. The trial was sown dry on the 3rd of April into a clay/loam soil type. At sowing there had been an annual rainfall of 97.4mm. April was dry with only 10.5mm of rainfall.


Image: Leafmore Grazing Brassica 17WAS, Grass Patch

Leafmore Brassica, Barley, Wheat and Ryegrass had 75L/ha Flexi-N + 100kg Agstar Extra at sowing. The Legumes were sown with 60 kg/ha Big Phos + 10k g/ha Alosca. Considering the dry start and some soil variability throughout the site, the trial emerged well. By mid July 90% of the trial was emerged. The Brassica, Cereals and Ryegrass were standouts for early establishment and growth. The Clovers, Biserrula and Lucerne were slow to establish and struggled to outcompete the medic, which has now taken over some plots.


On the 12thof June, 10 weeks after sowing (WAS), pasture cuts were taken of each species. The Clovers, Biserrula and Lucerne were just emerging. The cuts were dried at 60°C for two days to compare dry weights (Fig.1). On the 4th of August the second cut was taken (17 WAS) and Barley, Ryegrass and Brassica continued as the standouts. These were closely followed by the Wheat. Vetch and Biserrula had put on some good biomass and subsequent dry matter since the previous cut.


Salmon Gums (11 varieties x 4 replications):

· Illabo Wheat 80 kg/ha

· Planet Barley 50 kg/ha

· RM4 Vetch 25 kg/ha

· Tetila Ryegrass 10 kg/ha

· SARDI grazing Lucerne 5 kg/ha

· Casbah Biserrula 5 kg/ha

· Cobra Balansa Clover 5 kg/ha

· Snail Medic 5 kg/ha

· Sultan SU Tolerant Medic 5 kg/ha

· Paradana Balansa Clover 5 kg/ha

· Cavalier Medic 5 kg/ha


The Salmon Gums soil tests taken are reflective of the heavy Mallee soils. There is good topsoil nutrition but runs into higher EC/ Sodic soil at depth. Salmon Gums was sown dry on the 6th of April, and at that stage there had been 91.8mm of rain for the season. Barley, Wheat and Ryegrass had 75L/ha Flexi-N + 100 kg Agstar Extra at sowing. The Legumes had 50kg/ha Big Phos + 10kg/ha Alosca.


The trial sat for 10 weeks as April only had 7.8mm and low rainfall in the following months meant that the trial had just emerged in the middle of June. Due to this it was decided that pasture cuts would only be taken at 20 weeks after sowing hence no biomass cuts have been taken at this stage.


Neridup (9 varieties x 3 replications):

· Illabo Wheat 100 kg/ha

· Planet Barley 80 kg/ha

· RM4 Vetch 30 kg/ha

· Tetila ryegrass 15 kg/ha

· SARDI grazer Lucerne 5 kg/ha

· Dalkeith Subclover Panic 5 kg/ha

· Dynamo Turnip Grazing Brassica 5 kg/ha

· Paradana Balansa Clover 5 kg/ha

· Megamax Panic 5 kg/ha


The Sandplain site is situated 35km East of Esperance on a deep sand/ sandy loam. The soil tests are reflective of deeper sands in the high rainfall zone, where there are low levels of N,P and K in the top and to depth which is reflective of the low clay content and high leaching ability of the sand.


The trial was sown on the 11th of May after holding off and waiting for a good rain due to the non-wetting soil risk. Unfortunately, this did not help. The trial was sprayed out on the 12thof July due to multiple damaging wind events and subsequent high weed pressure. Radish, Capeweed and Silvergrass had taken over majority of the trial apart from the cereals and Ryegrass plots. Pasture cuts of the varieties that survived the wind were taken before spraying out the trial. Cuts of the silver grass were also taken to demonstrate the level of competition we were dealing with at the site (Fig.3).


Image: 0-60cm Soil Cores from the trial sites (Top to bottom: Salmon Gums, Grass Patch, Sandplain)


At time of sowing two (6th August) the site had 242.6mm of rainfall for the season and was sown into good soil moisture. Wheat, Barley, Ryegrass and the Brassica were sown with 100 K Till Extra and 75 L/ha Flexi-N. The Legumes had 50 kg/ha Big Phos and 10 kg/ha of Alosca.



For more information, contact ASHEEP.

ASHEEP Esperance

PO Box 2445

Esperance WA 6450

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Disclaimer: The Association of Sheep Husbandry, Excellence, Evaluation and Production (ASHEEP) does not accept any liability whatsoever by reason of negligence or otherwise arising from use or release of this information or any part of it.