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The perfect blend for developing a strong pasture

July 9, 2021 by SW Seed Company

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Daryl Frahn runs Koolibar, a family farm located near Mypolonga, South Australia. The property runs sheep, as well as a cropping and hay operation. For the last two years, Daryl has been sowing S&W Seed Company custom medic blends to develop a strong pasture base across the property. In 2019, he sowed a blend comprised of S&W Seed Company Cavalier Spineless Burr Medic, Caliph Barrel Medic, Bindaroo Button Medic and Parabinga Barrel Medic. The blend has now regenerated for its second year with great results and multiple grazings.

After evaluating his results in 2019, Daryl opted for a slightly different blend in 2020 of Cavalier Spineless Burr Medic, Bindaroo Button Medic and ML99 MultiLeaf® Lucerne. The inclusion of lucerne aimed to provide a perennial cover, which could utilise deeper soil moisture, particularly with the variability of soil type across the farm, including areas of non-wetting sand.

The blend was sown across a total of 44 hectares at 10 kilograms per hectare, with 40 kilograms of oats added for additional cover as well as a cereal component.

The 2020 season was lucky to have a strong start, with 58 millimetres of rainfall in April, allowing for late April sowing into a moist seedbed. This was followed by 32 millimetres of rain in May, before a dry spell over June and July. The medics persisted however, and a thick mat of medic could be seen in August. Some sporadic rain events over August and September kept the medics holding on, with very good pod set kicking in.

Daryl said, “I aimed to shut the paddock off for pod set during the first year to ensure a good seed bank for future persistence.” He changed his mind; after achieving his target of a high amount of pod set, “A significant amount of green feed was left as well, so the lambs benefited from an opportunistic graze after October shearing, to fatten them up before heading to another block.”

The lucerne initially struggled to establish strongly in some areas, probably due to the lack of rainfall in the middle of the season. However, the medic quickly became well established during this period, and competition and shading became an issue for the lucerne. Once the medic began to senesce, the lucerne pushed through during spring and provided some later green feed when the medic had died off.

Daryl’s management of the S&W blend has been simple yet effective, with only 50 kilograms per hectare of Goldphos fertilizer applied in furrow at sowing, and one spray of Anadim at 85 millilitres per hectare in early June for some barley grass control.

In 2021, Daryl aims to sow up to a further 30 hectares with the medic blend. He loves to utilise it as a pasture base, as it can establish across his range of soil types, with strong persistence year on year. With the custom blend, Daryl is able to adjust the variety inclusion and rates of his blends to adapt them to any paddock or situation across his property.

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