Why do I need to take bulb drymatter samples when weighing my crop? Can't I just use the book values?
Unlike kale crops where many can walk into a paddock and have a fairly good idea of how much yield they have by just looking at it, fodder beet is not so easy, even to the well experienced eye. Bulb drymatter percentages can throw you off completely, in some situations we have seen crop yields halve, just by sending away actual drymatter samples rather than using the book values.
How much variation are we talking?
A couple of years ago, we measured 90 individual bulbs, from the same paddock, the same cultivar, and found the bulb DM% ranged from 11.8% to 20.3%.
Why is there so much variation?
For any given cultivar, drymatter percentages are affected by: Sowing date, sowing rate, bulb size, soil type and fertility, soil preparation, bulb sampling method, regional location and climate - particularly rainfall or lack of.
Coring at least 15-20 bulbs in a row will give you a reliable paddock drymatter percentage, capturing much of the variation.
Agricom’s fodder beet coring tool has been developed as an efficient and more accurate way of obtaining fodder beet bulb drymatter percentages. The corer allows for more bulbs (compared with 2-3 bulbs traditionally sampled) to be taken quickly whilst reducing a large amount of variation that can occur within a paddock caused by factors such as soil type, bulb size, age of crop, the environment and climate.
If the cores are not sampled, stored, or couriered correctly as stated below, the accuracy of the bulb DM% can be largely skewed.