|What is Gibberellic Acid and what the heck
does it have to do with alpaca?
By Justin Weaver
Gibberellic acid is a naturally occurring plant hormone that is produced in higher quantities in warmer months. During the colder months, its production is low, hence plant growth is slower. The idea behind the application of the hormone is that it will stimulate cell
It can be used quite successfully from Late May to Mid September. Following an application of Gibberellic Acid on pasture, rapid growth occurs this is sometimes lighter in colour for the first couple of weeks after application, this colour change does not affect pasture quality. Visual responses following an application can generally be seen within 10 days and generally will provide accelerated growth for up to 3 to 4 weeks provided adequate soil moisture and nutrition is available. Applications @ 28 day intervals would be suitable, there is no withholding period, however best results if left ungrazed for 21 days. Pasture cover is recommended to be at least 1200kg dm/ha, results on first year new pasture have been poor.
You can get Gibberellic Acid in both granular and liquid form. I have only used it in liquid form (Gala, Growth Regulator from Victorian Chemicals). The amount needed is only about 40-80ml per hectare sprayed out in 100 Lt of water per hectare. We have applied it via our boomspray making sure to give it a good clean out first. The granular form needs to be applied via a boomspray as well.
Applied properly it works really well. Below are photos of a recent application at Vermillion Fire Alpaca Stud, the post application photo was only about 10 days post application so it is only just starting to become obvious. The control photo is a paddock alongside but untreated.
The results we have seen at other properties including my own have been similar. I have several clients who now use it every winter to get that additional growth they need in their paddock rotation to cut down on supplementary feeding. When you consider that a 1lt bottle only costs about $150 and that amount at 60ml/Ha would do just under 17 hectares it works out pretty cheap compared to hay and grain prices. Trials have consistently shown that when used as directed 80mL/ha of GALA will increase pasture dry matter by approx 20kg/ha/day for 3 - 4 weeks after application. So with a 21 day spell you should see 420kg of additional feed at a time when plant growth is minimal.
Now back to the question of what this all has to do with alpaca?