Pallaton's high water use efficiency will allow farmers to manage risk during the predicted dry conditions of spring/summer 2023/2024.
“I gave it about 10ml of water and 50kg of urea and within 10 days the difference was phenomenal with full leaf regeneration. By planting Pallaton, we know we are getting the best bang for our buck because of water cost savings."
Cattle and sheep breeder Shaun Johnson was one of the first farmers in Tasmania to put the new brassica hybrid seed Pallaton Raphno® to the test.
On his 100ha farm in Stonybanks (Elizabeth Town), a few kilometers west of the iconic Ashgrove Cheese Factory in north-west Tasmania, the breeder of Speckled Park cattle and Coopworth ewes (Texel rams) is reliant on achieving big things from a relatively small property in the foothills of the Great Western Tiers Mountain range.
Shaun’s first attempt with Pallaton was 3 years ago with around 7ha of Pallaton direct drilled into a light soil. 650 lambs were finished on the crop which demonstrated bulk growth and good regeneration. Unfortunately, the Pallaton crops growth got away from Shaun due to its growth under foot characteristics and radish component. “The second attempt the lambs gained 6 to 8kg in about four weeks which is amazing for us. Pallaton seems to be a lot more palatable, I think that’s a big part of its success.” Shaun explains.
“We always tried to keep the sheep rotated on a variety of feed, moving them to a clover pasture mix and then back onto the old-school forage rape, but it took my lambs three weeks just to get the taste for the forage rape.”
A characteristic of Pallaton is it doesn’t have a defined maturity date/requirement so stock can be introduced as soon as you’re outside the 56 day seed treatment withholding period. (says Isaac Berry Product Development Manager)
After planting for the second time the autumn grazing left Shaun’s Pallaton paddocks “as bare as a tabletop” which soon changed after applying Urea. “I gave it about 10ml of water and 50kg of urea and within 10 days the difference was phenomenal with full leaf regeneration.”
Reflecting on why the second crack at growing Pallaton crop had phenomenal results compared to the year before, Shaun says “The bottom line is that from day one this seed has showed a lot of promise. Unfortunately, we just grazed it wrong the first year.”
“The first year, we had a split germination, and we didn’t graze it hard enough, it went stalky leaving me with a patch of about a hectare that grew about seven foot tall, so I had to put cattle on that. I learned that you have to graze it pretty hard, treat it mean and keep it clean, and a high forage yield will be your reward.” Explains Shaun.
Shaun said that his overall return on investment since introducing Pallaton has been much improved, with higher stock numbers achievable due to getting at least five to six grazing’s of his paddocks per season. He reckons the high seed cost is more than compensated for with the continual growth of the crop and extended grazing opportunities.