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New Forage Value Index for Australia's dairy industry

Thursday 16 February 2017 | From Dairy Australia

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 economic index based on seasonal dry matter production.

Using a simple banding system, the FVI ranks the performance of perennial ryegrass varieties relative to the typical climatic conditions within dairy regions, 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 ranking.

The New Forage Value Index for Australia can be accessed here.

The FVI is one of the many examples of the dairy service levy at work. For more information on this and other levy investments in our Levy investment section.

Dairy Australia is the national services body for the Australian dairy industry. The company acts as the collective investment arm of the industry, investing in essential research, development, extension and industry services.

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