Growing forage cereals

28 Apr, 2016 04:00 AM
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Forage cereals can be a good option to produce quick feed.
Forage cereals are suited to a range of soil types and conditions.
Forage cereals can be a good option to produce quick feed.

Given the long and dry summer period, many farms will be searching for feed and/or needing to resow areas of the farm.

Fodder reserves are likely to be used up earlier than usual.

Home-grown feed is almost always the cheapest source of feed, particularly in drier seasons when imported feed demand is high across the state.

In tighter seasons, having the ability to produce home-grown feed becomes even more important.

Often the time period between sowing and establishment (first grazing) of ryegrass pastures can be slower than desired.

However, there are other crop options that can complement ryegrass in an autumn renovation process.

Be careful not to jeopardise long-term forage production by making short-sighted decisions on large areas of the farm.

Think about what will follow the crop and how the down time in feed supply between crops will be managed.

Forage cereals (oats, wheat, barley, triticale and ryecorn) are an annual forage option that can provide a quickly established and productive feed source, if managed correctly.

Forage cereals are by no means ‘new’ to the dairy world but modern varieties have been bred to be better suited to grazing, making them a better prospect than in the past.

Managing forage cereals is quite different to managing ryegrass, from all stages including sowing, grazing and fodder conservation.

Forage cereals are suited to a range of soil types and conditions.

However they aren’t suited to paddocks that are prone to water logging, so keep them away from wet flats.

For further information on conserving cereals as silage and hay, visit: http://agriculture.vic.gov.au/agriculture/dairy/pastures-management/forage-cereals/harvesting-forage-cereals.

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