Friday, 22 April 2022 08:55

Still time to undersow oats, Italian rye

Written by  Sharon Morton
Undersow oats and/or Italian ryegrass now, and you can create a bit of a safety net for calving. Undersow oats and/or Italian ryegrass now, and you can create a bit of a safety net for calving.

Contemplating what this year’s dry will mean for your feed supply in late winter and early spring?

Undersow oats and/or Italian ryegrass now, and you can create a bit of a safety net for calving if the effects of a tough season linger on through winter.

Our window for sowing is closing fast as temperatures drop. But it’s not too late to quickly stitch in next season’s crop paddocks with oats, Italian ryegrass, or both.

Results will depend on the weather, and this approach may not suit all farms.

The one thing we do know for certain, however, is that if the seed is not in the ground there’s no way it can grow!

If you don’t find yourself facing a feed pinch in late winter and early spring, extra cool-season growth from oats and Italian ryegrass will help restore depleted supplements.

If you do run short, that growth could be invaluable for calving. Hattrick oats and Tabu+ Italian ryegrass both have the potential to deliver a bulk of quality, cool season feed, just when you might really need it. 

The beauty of oats in a situation like this is that they will establish and grow at lower temperatures than ryegrass. Likewise, Tabu+ will out-grow perennial ryegrass in cool conditions.

But neither of them contains anti-freeze! So if you are going to include this in your drought recovery plan, the sooner seed goes in the ground, the better.

Undersowing is fast, cost-effective and relatively easy. You can stitch in as little or as much as you want.

Doing so at this time of the year is not without risk. But leaving paddocks as they are in the hope they recover enough growth to get you through lambing and calving is risky, too.

You can hedge your bets by undersowing just a few paddocks.

• Sharon Morton is a pasture systems agronomist at Barenburg.

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