DAIRY FARMERS seeking a way of assessing the agronomic performance or economic benefit of different rye-grass cultivars can use a rating system to determine the best choices for their property.
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Australian dairy farmers invest more than $100 million renovating pastures each year. Perennial rye-grass accounts for almost 80 per cent of this.

The Forage Value Index is a rating system that helps Australian dairy producers and their advisers to make more informed decisions when selecting perennial rye-grass cultivars. It provides an accurate, reliable and independent assessment of the potential economic value of perennial rye-grass cultivars in different dairy regions of south-east Australia.

The selection of better-performing cultivars will help to increase pasture productivity at key times of the year and ultimately, farm profitability.

The FVI is based on independently-calculated Performance Values for seasonal dry matter production and Economic Values.

PVs are determined by trial data from the Pasture Variety Trial Network, supplemented by data supplied by plant breeding companies that meet eligibility criteria.

EVs are determined by economic analysis of case study farms in different dairying regions in south-east Australia.

The FVI for each cultivar is expressed using a colour coding system, with the green colour representing the best performing cultivars in each region.

The FVI ranks cultivars according to their colour coding and user-nominated attributes (for example seasonal production, ploidy, heading date, and endophyte). Only cultivars listed in the Pasture Seed Database and confirmed as a cultivar by the Australian Seed Federation are used in the FVI.

The Forage Value Index pasture tables are available for dairy regions in south-eastern Australia.

The FVI tables have been recently updated with the inclusion of the results of several pasture trials conducted in southern Australia. More cultivars have been included and additional trials of current cultivars have extended scope of the FVI tables.

The seasonal performance tables rank cultivars by their performance (yield) in each season. Each table also shows the overall FVI performance and the other season’s performance. Use these tables to narrow down the choice of cultivars. Cultivars with the green bars are the highest performing.

The FVI has been a collaborative effort between Dairy Australia, Agriculture Victoria, Australian Seed Federation, Meat and Livestock Australia and DairyNZ.

For information, including regional tables go to the Dairy Australia website www.dairyaustralia.com.au/farm

Wisconsin dairies were among National Mastitis Council’s “cream of the crop” for producing quality milk during its Feb. 2 National Dairy Quality Awards program.

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