What to look for when comparing pasture mixes and why not all pasture mixes are equal.
How to compare pasture mixes when selling pasture seed.
The following quick guide is to help you ask the right questions, and know what to look for, when comparing pasture mixes.
Is it the same species?
- What components are in the pasture mix?
- Other grasses, such as Timothy and cocksfoot, that are sown at lighter rates than ryegrass. This can make these pasture mixes appear cheaper.
- Is the mix fit for purpose?
Are they the same type?
- If it’s a ryegrass pasture mix, is the same type? For example, is it perennial, what’s its flowering date, ploidy, type etc.?
- For clovers, check they are the same species and type. For example, to determine if a small, medium or large leafed white clover is required, consider the grazing system and stock class.
Is it a recognised cultivar?
- Are all the cultivars in the pasture mix from a recognised New Zealand-based seed company?
- Are all of the components of the mix proprietary seed or are some cheaper, common seeds?
- Can each component of the mix be supported by documentation, e.g. Is it certified seed, P&G certificates?
- Are each of the components in the pasture mix supported by trial data, especially independent sources of information such as DairyNZ?
- Is the pricing per kg, per hectare or per bag?
- Are the sowing rates of each of the cultivar components of the mix shown, and do they match with what the mix offers?
- Tetraploid ryegrasses are sown heavier (40%), so check sowing rates are equivalent per hectare to diploids.
The seed treatment and cultivar used can have an effect on sowing rate and will need to be adjusted accordingly.
- Novel endophytes are available in ryegrass and tall fescue.
- AR37 in ryegrass and MaxP® in tall fescue are the premium novel endophytes for insect tolerance
- AR1 and other novel endophytes are available and will be cheaper than AR37 and MaxP® endophytes but will offer less insect protection against certain pests.
- Nil or low endophyte will offer limited insect protection. If endophyte status is not mentioned in a quote, assume it is low endophyte.
- Superstrike® is recommended for seedling protection for grasses, clovers and herbs.
- Other seed treatments are available but may not afford the same level of protection.
- If no seed treatment is mentioned in a quote, then assume that this is bare seed and has no protection