A demonstration site at Singleton contains 250 pasture plots

Located on alluvial Hunter River flats a demonstration site at Singleton is expected to provide landholders with plenty of information on the performance of various pastures and crops.

During an open day held on May 15 the site was filled with agronomists, seed and fetiliser representatives and farmers all keen to take a close look at the 250 individual pasture plots sown in April.

The plots included a mix of pasture grasses, pasture herbs, lucerne, legumes, dual purpose winter cereals and a mixture of pasture, legume and herb blends.

GOOD CROP: Justine Baird, Hunter Local Land Services, recently appointed, regional pasture officer.

GOOD CROP: Justine Baird, Hunter Local Land Services, recently appointed, regional pasture officer.

Owner of the site and local agronomist Kyle Ropa is hoping the demonstration plots can be regularly viewed by interested landholders to enable a better understanding of what works and how the latest varieties perform.

Hunter Local Land Services are also involved in developing and managing the site and also undertake much of the performance testing.

Their recently appointed regional pasture officer, Justine Baird said they hoped to have the plot operating for four to five year.

“This will enable us to get the best understanding of how the pastures, herbs, legumes and cereals perform,” she said.

Given the current drought conditions across the Upper Hunter just seeing lush pastures was a pleasant experience.

VERDANT: A rare sight in the Upper Hunter given the drought - a paddock full of lush green pastures.

VERDANT: A rare sight in the Upper Hunter given the drought - a paddock full of lush green pastures.

The plots had received through rain and irrigation 65mm of water since sowing into ground that had been worked and deep ripped and given 125kg/hectare of starter fertiliser and Cobalt post-sowing. 

Mr Ropa said if the season were to break many livestock producers would be looking for quick feed.

“The Brassicas rapeseed and cabbage types can achieve 1500-3000kg/ha of dry matter in four to five weeks,” he said.

“That’s quick feed but take must be taken when grazing these crops by providing fibre to the cattle.”

Another option was a mix of brassicas and cereal crops and various speakers spoke on the advantages of dual purpose cereals.

But the big issue for everyone in attendance and throughout the state is when will the season break.  – the sooner the better.

This story Pastures and crops are put to the test first appeared on The Singleton Argus.