An award-winning team with the Luisetti Seeds Paddock of the Year Trophy. From left Lachie Adams, Graeme Adams, Shane King (Luisetti Seeds Agronomist) and Virginia Adams.
Just as it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a team of skilled individuals to grow an award-winning crop of turf ryegrass.
This was the graciousness with which Graeme and Virginia Adams received the Luisetti Seeds Paddock of the Year award, giving full credit to Luisetti Seeds Agronomist Shane King, the spraying contractor Cameron Adams, their son Lachie who took responsibility for the timing of inputs and Mark Frampton of Luisetti Seeds who oversaw the dressing of the seed.
They were also grateful to Luisetti Seeds Production Manager John McCaw for sourcing the Sparkmaster variety of turf ryegrass.
“John favoured us with the variety and all I did was supply the luck,” said Graeme.
For the family, who farm a 220ha arable operation at Greendale, it was the first time they had grown turf ryegrass, but it certainly won’t the be last.
The crop went into ex pea and wheat paddocks in late March 2019 and was harvested in midJanuary this year, yielding 3.250t/ha and with only a 13% dressing loss. At a value of $2.35/kg, this seed generated $7637/ha. But Graeme points out that the crop wasn’t without drama.
An issue with their irrigation water supply from Central Plains Water meant the crop was without water at a critical time in early summer and at one point, the soil moisture deficit was an uncomfortable 40mm.
But it recovered well once the water began flowing and the crop remained disease free throughout the growing period, despite rust being an issue in many turf ryegrass crops last season.
While Shane and Graeme say the Sparkmaster proved to be a robust variety, Shane also points out that the Adams were very good at following advice and ensuring the timely application of inputs, the latter being 16-year-old Lachie’s responsibility.
The crop was grazed lightly by hoggets last autumn and was topped twice before being shut up on 20 October. It was cut in mid January and harvested seven days later. Graeme knew at that point it was a special crop.
“I knew that when it was going into the combine that it was going well.”
They do wonder just how much more it might have yielded without the water check and hope to be able to find out next season. They have returned one of the paddocks to Sparkmaster turf ryegrass by ploughing and re-sowing. The couple says they like the idea of the provenance of the turf ryegrass, knowing that it’s going to be used in sports grounds and other public spaces.
The turf ryegrass was just one of the small seeds crops the family grew for Luisetti Seeds. Others include white clover, Digit peas and forage ryegrass. The peas proved to be another stand-out crop for the family, despite being hit hard by hail last spring.
“We were debating about re-sowing it after the hail but it went on to yield 5.5t/ha,” says Graeme.
The family have had a long (over 30 years) and very happy relationship with Luisetti Seeds and grow two-thirds of their crops for the company.
Southbridge arable farmers Ian and Maree Lowery won this year’s Luisetti Seeds “Paddock of the Year” competition with an outstanding crop of...