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News

New pasture grass a boost for graziers

CSIRO : 21 July, 2000  (Technical Article)
Atlas PG is a new phalaris grass being released by CSIRO for the coming planting season that will help Australian graziers boost wool and meat production. 'Limited amounts of Atlas PG will be available to growers in time for next year's planting,' says Dr Richard Culvenor, CSIRO Plant Industry.
'We also have another phalaris variety, Australian II, that should become available in 2002. These two varieties join our most recent releases, Holdfast and Landmaster, which are available now,' he says.

Atlas PG is a winter-active cultivar for drier, hotter areas, including parts of the cropping zone. Australian II is a semi-winter dormant cultivar bred from the original variety, Australian. It is suitable for heavy grazing in higher rainfall areas.

'Sheep on CSIRO-bred phalaris winter-active varieties produced up to seven per cent more wool in the first three years of one of our trials than sheep on the variety Australian,' says Dr Culvenor. 'Our varieties can help growers increase production and improve their sustainability.'

CSIRO has signed a research agreement with Seedco to continue the phalaris breeding program.

'With Seedco support, we will focus on developing acid-tolerant varieties and more general, highly persistent varieties,' says Dr Culvenor. 'We are also working to improve seedling recruitment and reduce the risk of toxicity.'

According to Dr Culvenor, phalaris pastures are more productive, persistent and sustainable than many other pastures.

'They can be sown on a wide range of soils, have few pests and diseases, and are drought tolerant,' says Dr Culvenor.

Phalaris pastures also have a number of environmental benefits. Like other deep-rooted perennial pastures, phalaris suppresses weeds, prevents soil erosion, and reduces the rate of soil acidification and salinisation.
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