Australian dairy farmers can now make more informed, profitable decisions when choosing the best perennial ryegrass for their farming system and forage needs, following the launch of the Australian Forage Value Index (FVI).
Developed by Dairy Australia, in partnership with Agriculture Victoria, Meat and Livestock Australia and the Australian Seed Federation, the FVI is an independently-analysed, industry-endorsed economic index based on seasonal dry matter production.
Using a simple banding system, the FVI ranks the performance of 20 of Australia’s most popular perennial ryegrass varieties relative to the typical climactic conditions within each dairy region, providing farmers with another tool to help lift farm profitability.
Dairy Australia’s Group Manager Farm Profit and Capability, Chris Murphy, said there was currently no independent method available to assess the agronomic performance of the myriad of perennial ryegrass cultivars commercially available in Australia, until now.
“With little independent information on the traits and capabilities of these existing cultivars, farmers tend to stick with what they know and have used, which can result in lost production opportunity and reduced incentive to invest in new pasture cultivars,” Mr Murphy said.
“The Forage Value Index scores are calculated by multiplying the seasonal yields of each cultivar (as determined by experimental trial data) with the economic value (as determined by case study farms in different dairying regions).”
The economic values for the increased dry matter yields in the trials ranged from $0.15 – $0.37 per kilogram of extra dry matter.
Economic values are the change in operating profit for every kilogram of dry matter increase. The economic value varies with the season, for example, pasture grown on farm is worth more in winter than spring.
To be included in the FVI, each cultivar must have seasonal yield data from at least three, three-year trials using strict experimental protocols. All trial data was analysed by an accredited statistician and reviewed by a Technical Advisory Committee to determine its place within the FVI banding scale.