October: Annual Ryegrass Woes

One of the biggest challenges of establishing perennial pastures in the Bairnsdale region is competition from annual ryegrass. When pasture paddocks are worked or even when the ground is disturbed by sowing, it is very common to get a substantial germination of local annual ryegrass (Wimmera rye), particularly when paddocks are worked in autumn. This ryegrass will compete with the desired species planted, and when they are slower to establish, as many perennial species are, the ryegrass will outcompete them. At the research farm, we attempted to control this by spraying out the annuals after the autumn break with Paraquat (Spray Seed ). However, despite this, there is a massive crop of annual ryegrass growing all over the two perennial paddocks A and B. The next challenge will be how to graze it sufficiently hard to reduce the seed set without impacting the perennial species we want to preserve. The paddocks that we will sow next year have also produced a colossal amount of annual ryegrass after they were worked to level the paddocks. The ryegrass will be sprayed out by 15 October, before it seeds to minimise the weed burden for next year. Watch this space to see if this produces a better result for next year’s planting.