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The significance of mediterranean plant introduction for increasing the winter growth of pasture in the high rainfall areas of Victoria

K.F.M. Reed1, J.W. Cade2 and A.E. Williams2

1 Dept. of Agric., Pastoral Research Institute, Hamilton, Vic. 3300.
Dept. of Agric., Swan Street, Burnley, Vic. 3121.

Plant introductions from the Mediterranean countries, and improved cultivars bred from such material, have been tested over several years at sites throughout the State. These have resulted in recommendations for the low rainfall summer drought areas, of cultivars of Mediterranean origin, e.g. Currie cocksfoot, Sirocco phalaris.

Most Mediterranean introductions of white clover (including Haifa) have proved more persistent than the widely used cultivar, Grasslands Huia. In addition, the winter production from Grasslands Huia was less than from the Mediterranean cultivars, Haifa and CPI 19434 at each site tested (P<0.05). Mean yields over several years are tabulated below. The Victorian ecotype, Irrigation has been more productive than Grasslands Huia at Kyabram and Numurkah. These results have been obtained without a significant loss in total annual yield (Reed 1979).

TABLE 1. Dry matter production of white clover in winter (t ha-1)

{1} irrigated
{2} includes autumn growth

At Kyabram, Algerian introductions of perennial ryegrass species have proved to be more persistent than Victorian, and quite productive (Cade 1969). Medea, a drought tolerant cultivar developed from Algerian introductions, has outyielded cv. Victorian in winter at the three sites where it has been tested. Again, this occurred without a significant loss in total annual production.

TABLE 2. Dry matter production of perennial ryegrass in autumn-winter (t ha-1)

We acknowledge our colleagues, Messrs. M. Woodroofe, I. Cameron and J. Hunter for data from Numurkah, Whitfield and Strathbogie.

Cade. J.W. (1969). Vic. Dept. Agric. Pasture Branch Report, 1968-69. p.16.

Reed, K.F.M. (1969). Proc. Vic. Grassld. Conf., Melbourne, 47-68.

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