3 Feb 2009

Dairy farmers urged to seek advice on planting pasture

1:49 pm on 3 February 2009

Dairy NZ says widespread damage to grass from last year's drought is being seen around the country, and is urging farmers to seek advice before re-grassing their properties.

Team leader Rob Brazendale says the dry conditions left many farmers with no option but to plant annual ryegrasses, which are now coming to the end of their life.

He says those farmers will need to decide whether to replant with an annual variety, or one which will last longer.

Mr Brazendale said annual ryegrass is a "quick fix" which is lower cost and gives a quick return, though it will mean farmers are in the same situation in a year's time.

Permanent ryegrass, he said, is slower to establish and return to full production and is more expensive, but provides pasture that does not need to be replanted each year.

Mr Brazendale says although grass-growing conditions are better than they were this time last year, the soil is drying out.

He said farmers should aim to have their properties re-grassed by the beginning of March.