Sheep Event: New Zealand ryegrass could boost production

Sheep farmers can get an early boost to grass production and cut back on creep feeding for spring lambs by including the Matrix Enhanced Ryegrass in ley mixtures, according to Sinclair McGill.

Matrix is a new variety which begins growing earlier in the year than conventional ryegrasses.

In fact, at the company’s Lincolnshire trial site, Matrix started growing by 7 February this year, despite the cold winter, and was suitable for grazing by mid-February. In Hampshire new season’s growth was recorded on 19 January.

Matrix offers plenty of scope for sheep farmers to turn out lambs onto pasture sooner, says Ian Misselbrook.

“This could allow producers to cut back on feeding costs or even bring forward the lambing season by up to three weeks,” he added.

In New Zealand, where Matrix was originally bred, it is used by New Zealand sheep farmers in paddock grazing systems, providing growth almost all year round.

In the UK, it can start growing up to three weeks earlier in the spring, so offering the opportunity to reduce reliance on creep feeding lambs in March.

• For full coverage from this year’s NSA Sheep Event click here.