Cocksfoot a tender winner in a tough paddock

Uplands Cocksfoot with red clover pasture

Uplands Cocksfoot with red clover pasture

Most dairy pastures in this part of Victoria are ryegrass, whether annual, Italian or perennial. Not the one Zoe’s posing in! It’s a new variety of cocksfoot called Uplands. Planted with nitrogen-fixing clover, this so-called Spanish cocksfoot has turned the farm’s worst-performing paddocks into one of its most productive.

This north-west facing paddock has an acidic sandy-loam over clay soil type and used to be routinely skipped in grazing rotations. A crop of rape and millet failed miserably, producing a massive forest of fat hen. We ploughed that in and called it a “green manure crop” to save a little dignity, then sowed the Uplands cocksfoot and red clover.

I had been warned it would be slow to establish but began to wonder when it looked like being overwhelmed by capeweed in the first six months. In late Spring, however, this paddock took off and has not looked back! The cocksfoot is fine-leaved, very persistent and resistant to cockchafer grubs.

The cows seem to like it too, even showing a preference for the cocksfoot over the clover.

PS: Astute farmers will see it’s got a bit out of hand. I should have grazed it earlier but access was too wet until now.


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