Choice was bred in New Zealand by AgResearch Grasslands, the breeders of the original forage chicory, Puna. Compared to the original Puna, Choice has a uniform full strap leaf and is fully green in colour. Choice was bred from true perennial chicory parents under grazing evaluation and selected for high drymatter production, improved cool season growth and recovery from grazing. Choice has been bred with very good leaf disease tolerance.
Choice gives high volumes of good quality summer feed for increased animal production. It is commonly used as a pure stand summer crop for milk production and finishing systems. Choice is a good source of minerals (particularly Zn, Cu, Mg, P, Ca, K).
Choice is very productive over spring, summer and autumn, and is moderately active in mid-winter depending on the region of use. It is also one of the most drought tolerant plants available which is most expressed in fertile free draining soil.
There are two main ways that Choice chicory is used:
1. Mixed with a grass/clover pasture - this is the most common use of chicory because it requires very little change to pasture establishment and management practices. It is an easy way to increase animal production from a pasture. Seed is mixed at a rate of 1 to 3 kg/ha, depending on the content required.
2. As a special purpose crop - this requires different establishment and management practices to grass pastures. It is however, a more effective way of increasing animal performance because it provides a greater amount of high quality feed over summer. Seed is sown at 6 to 8 kg/ha often with the addition of red and white clover.
Choice has performed very well in trials and on-farm exhibiting good growth and has more production and persistence than other winter-active chicory cultivars.
As a summer crop, Choice is a very high quality feed source with Metabolisable Energy (ME's) of 11.5 to 13.0 MJ ME/kg DM and crude proteins of 22% to 27% at a time when unirrigated ryegrass can contain both low ME and low crude protein.
Choice chicory in dairy systems is a reliable crop for summer dry conditions once fully established. Chicory's deep tap root, high drymatter growth rates and excellent regrowth potential in hot conditions makes it a versatile summer crop. Choice has the ability to continue to supply quality feed beyond the point when most summer turnips are finished; an important feature in a year with extended dry conditions.
Choice can also be added to a pasture mix to improve summer production and quality enabling new pastures to carry higher quality feed later during dry summers.
How is Choice used on farm?
What are the key tips about sowing Choice for dairy cows?
How is Choice established?
What are the principles of good management?