Perennial Ryegrass has been one of the main grass components in sheep/beef and dairy systems throughout the southern agricultural region. Due to the fact the vast majority of Perennial Ryegrass Germplasm comes from European and New Zealand varieties we have struggled to get long term persistence from perennial ryegrass in our climate, unless irrigation is available.
The major breakthroughs with Perennial Ryegrass have come with a commitment from proprietary companies sourcing Germplasm from more arid regions, (ie North Africa, Spain, Morocco) which may have a better fit with our cold wet winters and long dry summers. The heat tolerance and persistence capabilities of these new varieties have made a ryegrass dryland pasture in the southern region a real and viable proposition. There are also a few Australian Breeding houses who have continued to produce quality Australian ryegrass cultivars which handle our summer conditions. Naracoorte Seeds is committed to using varieties best suited to our region.
Drought Tolerance & Persistence in the Southern Region
The South Eastern Pasture area is considered marginal for perennial ryegrass long term persistence; due to our hot, dry summers. There have been some significant advances in ryegrass plant breeding in recent times and there are some varieties which have shown a unique ability to persist under our conditions. If ryegrass does not persist in your area there are still many persistent and productive options available to you such as –
- Tall Fescue