Read about perennial ryegrass management strategies and techniques.
In most southern Australian dairy farming environments, perennial ryegrass pastures can remain productive for at least four years. This significantly lowers the cost of production and, in a dryland environment, permits growth with minimal intervention as soon as soil moisture allows.
Perennial ryegrass tillers normally maintain three live leaves.
After being grazed the three leaves are removed. When the 1st leaf emerges again it is produced using sugars stored in the residual stem.
As the 2nd leaf emerges, the plant will start restoring some of the sugar reserves that have been used. The sugar reserves in the plant are fully restored once the 2nd leaf has completely emerged.
Grazing before the 2nd leaf has emerged will limit regrowth rates and threaten plant survival. Grazing after the 3rd leaf has fully emerged will waste pasture and reduce overall nutritional value. Cattle will reject more of this lower value pasture. The drop in nutrition after the 3rd leaf stage occurs faster in the warm seasons (spring-summer) than in winter.
The timing of grazing affects root growth. Immediately after a ryegrass tiller is grazed, the growth of the root stops so the plant can use its sugar reserves to grow new leaves. Once the 1st leaf emerges, the root growth will recommence.
Pastures that are grazed too frequently therefore have less root mass. Plants with less root mass are:
This paddock guide highlights the principles of ryegrass grazing management. It covers ryegrass identification, identifying growth stage based on leaf appearance, pre and post grazing measures and tools to assist in using this information and getting a good balance between pasture and animal performance.
Perennial ryegrass management-grazing management to maximize growth and nutritive value (PDF, 1.1MB)
The 3030 Project reinforced three basic perennial ryegrass grazing management strategies.
These guidelines are not an attempt to present a silver bullet for perennial ryegrass pasture management. They are not meant to be exclusive; using other guidelines based on similar principles can also achieve success in maximising the growth of high quality pastures and minimising waste.
Perennial ryegrass management II - practical application of grazing principles (PDF, 1.1MB)
How to achieve the ABC targets in practice. There are four main areas of perennial ryegrass management that should be covered in order to achieve the ABC targets:
Perennial ryegrass management IV -grazing management specific practices (PDF, 860KB)
This Information Sheet focuses on paddock-level specific grazing management practices. These practices should be understood within the context of the three basic strategies identified by the 3030 Project as the basis for pasture management (discussed in the grazing management to maximize growth and nutritive value Information Sheet).
Perennial ryegrass management VII - pasture renovation (PDF, 827KB)
Contents: Decision process leading to the renovation or over-sowing of perennial ryegrass pastures on southern Australian dairy farms. The focus of this factsheet is on: