South-west Victoria Forage Value Index now available for 2023
The Forage Value Index has been available in South-west Victoria for a few years now and each year, new data from various parts of South-east Australia has been added to further strengthen the reliability of the FVI tables. Data from each site is combined into an aggregated dataset to predict the highest performing varieties in each of the three main ryegrass species – Perennial, Annual and Italian ryegrass
How is it calculated?
The FVI value for each variety is calculated by multiplying the performance value of each cultivar (i.e. total kilograms dry matter produced per hectare per season) by its economic value (i.e. the estimated value of this extra production per season). Performance values for each variety are determined by industry-assessed, independent trial data. To be included in the FVI database, each cultivar must have data from at least three trials that have been conducted using strict industry approved protocols. For Perennial ryegrass, trials must be three years in length, while Annual and Italian ryegrass trials must be a minimum of one full growing season.
How to use it
Once you have decided which species you are sowing (Perennial, Annual or Italian ryegrass), simply look at the South-west Victoria list for that species and select a high performing cultivar. There are also seasonal yield tables available to indicate which cultivars perform best across summer, autumn and winter when pasture production may be of greater value than in spring depending on your farm system, calving pattern etc.
South-west Victoria trials
Already there are several sites in the western districts that contribute to the FVI, including Warrnambool, Colac, Macarthur, Hamilton, Timboon, Terang and even Mt Gambier under irrigation. There is a greater concentration of PTN trial data from Western Victoria than any other region in Australia, which is an extra positive for local farmers.
In addition, new trials are being completed in Warrnambool and Glenthompson in 2023 that will be added to the FVI while more trials will be sown in the region in autumn 2023. As the volume of data continues to grow, farmers can become more confident in the rankings on the FVI. Furthermore, forage quality information on each variety has been gathered and will be analysed in 2023 with a view to adding this information to the next update of the FVI.
Pasture Trial Network – individual trials
It is also possible to look at the individual trial results that are used to generate the FVI rankings. For example, if you are based in a particular region and wish to look at the individual trial results from a local site, you can do so on the PTN website by following this link below or just googling ‘Pasture Trial Network’. There are over 100 independent trials across all species available on this website over several years. Details can be found here.
To see a copy of the latest South-west Victoria Forage Value Index, head to the Dairy Australia website – where there is a much more comprehensive ‘frequently asked questions’ document – and search ‘Forage Value Index 2023’
Example PTN trial sown in Autumn 2022. Each variety is sown in four randomised plots within a PTN trial to ensure accurate performance information is calculated between varieties.
Examples of an annual ryegrass PTN trial in spring