Charger is a diploid Italian ryegrass which provides excellent autumn/winter feed in the second and third years under favourable conditions.
Charger is a late-flowering variety which can extend the grazing season into late summer. Charger benefits from late season rains or irrigation.
Days to flowering relative to Nui (0) = +12
500,000-600,000 seeds per kg
(Source: Pasture Varieties used in NSW 2006-2007, Bev Zurbo, 2006)
Charger is well adapted to a wide range of fertility levels and soil profiles, but performs best in a well-drained loam. Diploid biennials will cope with short-term water-logging provided the growing tip is above water. To maximise stand productivity, soil testing is advisable. Analyse soil and neutralise deficiencies with fertiliser and/or lime.
Good base rates of phosphorus are necessary for maximum DM production especially during establishment phase. DM production is directly related to nitrogen availability. Consult your Upper Murray Seeds agronomist or fertiliser advisor for nitrogen application rates.
Diploid ryegrass has relatively small seed (compared to tetraploid ryegrass) and may be sown at a lighter rate. Sow at 20-25kg/ha alone or 5-10kg/ha when a component of a pasture blend. Sow seed no deeper than 1cm in a fine but firm seed bed. Sow into bared ground if direct drilling. Lightly harrow and roll to improve germination. Suitable for oversowing into an established stand. Pasture productivity is directly related to successful plant establishment.
During emergence it is essential to monitor regularly for damage from insects such as RLEM and lucerne flea, and spray as required. Inspect during early stand life for populations of black-headed cockchafer and slugs. Contact your Upper Murray Seeds agronomist for spray application rates.
Charger seedlings germinate quickly and are very competitive once established. Always use a knockdown herbicide to ensure you are sowing into a clean seedbed. Monitor for post-emergent weeds and spray as required. Use options such as spray-grazing for broadleaf weeds.
Do not graze Charger until the plant is well anchored and root depth is established. Carry out a quick in-paddock ‘grab test’ by hand to ensure stock cannot pull plants out of the ground. Charger should be rotationally grazed to maintain 2-3 leaves per tiller. If the stand is allowed to grow beyond the three-leaf stage, it may run to head earlier and there will be a proportional reduction in quality and productivity.
Biennial diploids maintain grazing quality late into the season. Charger ryegrass is ideal for high quality hay production. Its prolific regrowth capacity means it is possible to cut both silage and hay in the one season.
To optimise livestock weight gain and health, ensure livestock are vaccinated and drenched. To prevent nutritional problems, make gradual diet changes when introducing hungry stock to lush pastures. Contact an Upper Murray Seeds agronomist for more information.