Matching future ryegrass varieties to climate trends in South West Victoria

Anthony Leddin

Valley Seeds, 295 Maroondah Link Highway, Yarck, Victoria 3719,,


The rainfall distribution in South West Victoria in 2014 was marked by a lower than average spring rainfall.  Climate change models predict that the occurrence of this kind of event will be more common in this region with less spring rainfall and also warmer winter temperatures.  Ryegrass species produce the majority of their pasture biomass around their heading date in spring; therefore it seems wise to match the heading date to the rainfall distribution.  Annual and Italian (Lolium westerwoldicum and Lolium multiflorum) ryegrass varieties may be more suited to a low rainfall spring due to their earlier heading date compared to Italian ryegrass varieties. Recent New Zealand and European breeding programmes for ryegrass has focused on late heading.  These new varieties are expected to be less suitable for Australia in the future as the climate changes with less spring rainfall. Therefore a breeding programme targeted for Australian conditions is needed.


The Australian Society of Agronomy is the professional body for agronomists in Australia. It has approximately 500 active members drawn from government, universities, research organisations and the private sector.

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David Marland Photography Southern Farming Systems Agriculture Victoria

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