Mainstar is a short type forage rape that has excellent regrowth potential after grazing, giving it the ability to respond to moisture after long periods of summer dry. It has increased forage yields over other short type forage rapes. Animal testing during the breeding process found Mainstar to have a higher leaf percentage and superior animal preference over other short type forage rapes.
Pasture seed sowing rate (sole): 3-4kg/ha
Pasture seed sowing rate (mixed): 1-2kg/ha
Trial work has been conducted in Australia and NZ over multiple low rainfall sites (Lincoln, Wairarapa, Hawkes Bay and Ballarat) comparing short type forage rapes like Mainstar and Winfred to tall type cultivars like Greenland. There is considerable variation between forage rapes cultivars in the relative proportion of stem and leaf. The image to the right shows the difference in leaf to stem between a Mainstar and Greenland crop planted on the same day. The leaf of a rape plant is the highest quality regardless of the forage rape variety, however the longer the stem the lower the stem quality and there is a direct correlation to high leaf volume and crop utilisation. The below illustrates the differences between Mainstar and other varieties in showing it has over 70% of total yield as leaf and less than 30% of total yield as stem. This is one of the reasons stock show grazing preference to Mainstar over other varieties.
Young prime lamb stock finishing in early summer
Feed for post-weaning period, where feed demands increase at a time when pasture declines.
Mid-late summer ‘safe’ feed for all stock classes
Feed at a time when pastures are of a low quality and low moisture levels are impacting on pasture growth. This helps avoid stock health issues related to endophyte effects, worms, facial eczema etc.
To support an increased stocking rate, as required when paddocks are removed for pasture renewal.
Maintenance feed for stock when pasture growth is limited, allowing stock to be held on small areas, thereby building the amount of valuable and high-quality early spring feed.
Winter stock finishing
Large quantities of quality feed suitable for finishing e.g., cattle and winter-lamb contracts.
Break crop for renovation programme of sub-standard pastures
If managed well, forage crops will provide a significant dry matter contribution, with minimal time out of production. It is also a useful system for assisting in weed and disease clean-up for pre-pasture establishment and a good opportunity for improving fertility.
Minimum 500mm rainfall per annum unless irrigated
We sow Mainstar every spring to turn off as many lambs as possible because it grows so well and is very palatable. It’s also fits in as part of a renovation program with a plan of sowing the paddock down to a perennial pasture in the autumn. The crop is normally sown in September/October but was sown later than usual (2022) because of the excessive wet spring. The crop established quickly, we managed to start grazing in 7-8 weeks from sowing. The Mainstar carried about 600-800 lambs all the way through to the end of May. We also put 50 steers on for a couple of hours a day when the crop was growing at its peak."
Every time it rained, the Mainstar produced a new mass of leaf back on the root crown. It grew much more quickly than Winfred, the rain just recharged it. With a good quality crop like Mainstar, you might be able to put more stock on, or not sell your lambs as early, so you can get a few more kilograms on them before you have to turn them off. At times this year, the difference between trade weight and heavy in lambs has been as much as $80 or $90 a head so that flexibility is very valuable."