DoubleRoot delivers persistence to remote high-country pasture

Farming New Zealand’s high country presents a range of environmental challenges, with the land imposing restrictions on what can tolerate its seasonal extremes. But the MacKenzies have found a persistent pasture solution in DoubleRoot, the world-first hybrid clover from Germinal.

Hamish and Julia MacKenzie of Braemar Station have used Germinal’s DoubleRoot, a unique cross of Caucasian and white clovers, in their permanent pasture mix since 2013. The goal was to increase feed quality and persistency for the farm’s 7,000 sheep, 1,500 deer and 450 cattle.

Situated 700m above sea level on the eastern side of Lake Pukaki, Braemar Station covers 4,100 hectares. Temperatures can drop to -15°C in winter, and it is common to be feeding out for 120 days during this time. Then, long dry periods in summer culminate in frequent droughts.

The region recorded the country’s lowest air temperature in 2017: -14.6°C, according to the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research.

DoubleRoot endures through seasonal extremes

AberLasting is a highly regarded variety from the DoubleRoot range, representing the first successful cross of Caucasian and white clovers. Bred by Germinal Horizon with greater persistence when faced with environmental extremes, DoubleRoot clovers like AberLasting can withstand overnight temperatures of -30°C that would kill 70% of standard white clovers. 

At the other extreme, DoubleRoot can survive temperatures of up to +30°C. A drought tolerance experiment found that the AberLasting variety maintained leaf water content for a week longer than standard white clovers could without water.

“Pasture persistence has significantly improved since using AberLasting” says Hamish. “A lot of other clovers would have run out of puff by now, but the AberLasting mix is still going strong after four years.

“The pasture has to survive and bounce back in our tough location. We are fattening lambs, deer and growing out young stock, so persistence is particularly important.”

DoubleRoot grows above and below ground

The superior root system of DoubleRoot, growing above and below ground, produces a more resilient plant. This enables DoubleRoot pasture to withstand heavy grazing.

“We find it has the ability to kick back into gear after cutting silage off it, which means we can use it to fatten lambs in late summer and into autumn,” says Hamish.

“It is a deep-rooted plant and copes really well with our dry conditions and heavy soils.”

Hamish and Julia are actively involved in New Zealand’s agricultural industry and are well-respected for their proactive approach to protecting the environment.

They have previously hosted a field day on-site at Braemar as part of the New Zealand Grassland Association’s annual conference. Typically attracting up to 500 attendees, the conference showcases the latest in grassland science and farming best practices.

The couple also won the New Zealand Deer Farmers’ Association Next Generation Award in 2017 for performance across environmental, financial and social aspects of their business.

Get persistent pasture

Find out where you can get DoubleRoot.