Farmers deciding which cultivars to choose for their autumn pasture renovation can look to the FVI for how cultivars of ryegass have performed in their region.
What is the FVI?
The FVI is an independent, region-specific and profit-based index for short-term and perennial ryegrass cultivars. It is updated annually with new cultivars as trial data becomes available.
The information helps farmers make more informed, profitable decisions when choosing ryegrass cultivars for a pasture renewal programme and the FVI aids farmer decision-making (visit dairynz.co.nz/pasturerenewal).
The FVI gives a number to each cultivar, much like breeding worth for cattle, but the value is in dollars per hectare ($/ha). A cultivar's FVI is calculated on how well the cultivar performed in terms of seasonal dry matter yield and what value the additional yield has on dairy farm operating profits.
Each cultivar’s star rating is determined by converting the $/ha FVI into a five star category. The top yielding cultivars receive a five star and the bottom cultivars get a one star (with those between assigned two, three or four stars).
The DairyNZ Cultivar Selector Tool can produce a ranking of cultivars for each region, grouped by the FVI rating. The tool is available at dairynz.co.nz/fvi.
More new traits on their way
Cultivars in the FVI are ranked on seasonal dry matter yield. The next step is to include a measure of pasture quality.
Pasture quality trials in the South Island have been completed. The inclusion of a quality trait into the national FVI will wait for sufficient North Island data (possibly as soon as spring 2016).
The next challenge for the DairyNZ forage value team is to understand how persistence can be incorporated.
This article was originally published in Inside Dairy February 2016