Brassicas & Beets
Forage crops, brassicas and beets, are valuable tools for meeting the changing feed and energy requirements of a livestock operation throughout the year. Feed supply and stock performance can be manipulated through the use of different forage species. Agricom recognised the integral role of brassicas, forage cereals and herbs, investing in breeding and research, and is now proud to supply products specifically bred for New Zealand’s farming systems.
Forage crops can offer a superior feed supply, both in terms of quantity and quality, in many situations. They provide an excellent source of energy and protein for grazing stock. Use of a forage crop should be considered in any situation where pasture quantity or quality is limiting the potential production of your livestock. The most common situations are as follows:
Young-stock finishing in early summer – feed for post-weaning period, where feed demands increase at a time when vegetative pasture growth rates are falling.
Mid-late summer feed for all stock classes – at a time when pastures are of a low quality and low moisture levels are impacting on pasture growth.
Summer “safe” feed – a parasite/pathogen-free grazing environment, to avoid stock health issues related to endophyte effects, worms, facial eczema etc.
Autumn feed – to support an increased stocking rate, required when paddocks are removed for pasture renewal.
Winter feed – maintenance feed for stock when pasture growth is limited, allows stock to be held on small areas, thereby building the amount of valuable, and high-quality early spring feed. Crops also aid in reducing widespread pasture damage in wet conditions.
Winter stock-finishing – large quantities of quality feed suitable for finishing, e.g. cattle and winter-lamb contracts.
Break crop for renovation programme of sub-standard pastures – if managed well, forage crops will provide a significant drymatter contribution, minimal time out of production, a useful system for assisting in weed and disease clean-up for pre-pasture establishment, and a good opportunity for improving fertility status. Brassicas are particularly useful in avoiding ryegrass seeding over the summer prior to establishment of a grass variety with AR1 or AR37 endophyte.