On the South Coast we have seen renewed interest in pastures and more tree farms coming out of production. This was the catalyst behind a CSBP pasture trial at Many Peaks.
The last 5 to 6 years have seen a large number of tree farms coming out of production and back into cropping or in this case pasture.
With this in mind the Metcalfe site was selected, three years ago it had been in trees for about 15 years. CSBP wanted to look at optimising pasture production, and if anything different needed to be done coming out of trees. The results so far have been fantastic.
In 2015 the paddock was limed, 220kg/ha Super Copper Zinc Moly was applied and it was re-sown with a mix of rye-grass and sub clover. The site was set up really well which is a credit to Metcalfe’s.
The trial design included eight treatments including three rates of Super Phos Extra (0, 150 and 300 kg/ha). Muriate of Potash was applied in autumn and /or spring. The trial also looks at the benefits of applying NK11 in spring.
With talk of responses to Boron (B) on sub clover over East, we also included a B treatment.
The treatments were replicated three times for scientific analysis.
Soil tests in February 2017 identified phosphorus (P) the main profit driver (table 1).
Table 1: Soil test results
Up until 20 September, we measured a 40% increase in dry matter (DM) M production from Super Phos Extra (Table 2). The extra 2 t/ha of dry matter produced with 300 kg/ha Super Phos Extra would support another 4 DSE/ha.
While we are awaiting results from our late October measurement, observations indicate a late spring response to potash and NKS11 applied at the end of August.
Table 2: Day matter production
Plant test results from late June showed:
• Increasing (P) uptake with increasing rates of Super Phos Extra.
• Marginal potassium (K) where not applied.
• High copper (Cu) zinc (Zn) and molybdenum (Mo) levels possibly attributable to Super CZM being applied in 2015
• Adequate boron (B) without application
Table 3: Plant test results
This trial highlights the importance of treating pasture like a high producing crop. Attention to detail with manipulation, or in this case re-sowing, controlling insects, good nutrition is maximising the increased production.
In summary, this trial has highlighted the potential productivity gains from targeted fertiliser applications.
Winter DM response to 300 kg/ha Super Phos Extra (RHS) compared to Nil (LHS). Photo taken 8 August 2017.