Farmer's Feedback
Brassica and Herbs
Farmer's Feedback
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Bouncer Hybrid Forage Brassica Farmer's Feedback

Tony TorpyQuicker feed from Bouncer - Bouncer Hybrid Forage Brassica

The addition of Bouncer hybrid forage brassica to the feed program of Tony Torpy, of Newlyn located north-east of Ballarat, Victoria, has led to quicker feed options over summer. Mr Torpy said he first sowed Bouncer in the spring of 2010 and the success that season led to additional planting in 2011. “We generally sow in late September as the ground is starting to warm up,” he said. “We’ve found the Bouncer gets away quickly, competes well with the weeds and provides a bit of early feed. It is really good the way it came away.” He said they bred their own lambs and used Bouncer to be able to send the stock to markets from mid-January. Typically the lambs are born in May and June and are then sent to market at regular intervals from that January timing. Mr Torpy said to achieve this they needed an early feed with Bouncer suiting that purpose well.

He said the feed was available from late November onwards and they would put a reasonable sized mob on first-up to trim the forage back. “After they knocked it back we would take them out and let the Bouncer re-grow for the next three to four weeks. “Generally once you put them on you can expect a bettering of their condition in two to three weeks. We averaged good money for the lambs last year.” Mr Torpy said the Bouncer was down into three 10 acre paddocks during September and they also planted a 5 acre paddock in late October. “We dropped 750 lambs and they will all have a go at the Bouncer,” he said. The Bouncer was sown at a rate of 5 kilograms per hectare into paddocks that had a range of rotational histories that included old pasture, potatoes and brassica from the previous summer. Irrigation water is available on the Bouncer in drier years, however the last two seasons have been highlighted by some summer rainfall and additional waterings have not been required. In 2010 the wet conditions delayed the first grazing until mid-December, and the Bouncer held on well to continue to provide quality feed. Mr Torpy said the lambs also had access to lucerne areas when they came off the Bouncer and the combination of the two worked really well together.

Tony Torpy, Newlyn VIC

Cressida and Michael McNamaraBouncer producing excellent grazing options at sheep dairy
Bouncer Hybrid Forage Brassica

Bouncer hybrid forage brassica was used in conjunction with Italian ryegrass to reach production targets on the sheep dairy property of Cressida and Michael McNamara of Robertson, in the NSW southern highlands.

Cressida McNamara said they were very pleased with the result of a four hectare paddock of Bouncer sown in October 2011. She said the dairy sheep milked well off the feed. “It picked up their condition and kept them in good health,” she said. “It helped us meet our production targets.” The early vigour of Bouncer was notable and the sheep produced added bulk after the first grazing. Regrowth was also a key to the success of the crop.

Mrs McNamara said the seasonal conditions were quite wet so affected the performance of the feed, although the Bouncer did an excellent job of growing through until autumn, as the ryegrass component took over. She said the sheep took to the feed readily and produced good quantities of milk.The dairy is currently milking 70 East Friesian sheep and milk produced is made into cheese and sold as a niche market product. The ewes normally lamb in August and forage options such as Bouncer provides excellent feed options through the summer and early autumn period.Cressida and Michael McNamara, of Robertson in the NSW southern highlands, used Bouncer hybrid forage brassica to reach production targets for their sheep dairy flock.

Cressida and Michael McNamara, Robertson, NSW - Southern Highlands

Ed CalvertEd Calvert - Bouncer Hybrid Forage Brassica

Bouncer hybrid forage brassica was used by Ed Calvert of Lismore in the Western Districts of Victoria as an option into canola stubbles. Mr Calvert said canola stubbles provided little feed value so he looked at an option which would provide some forage. A 50 hectare paddock of canola was harvested in early January and the Bouncer forage brassica direct-drilled into the stubble in March. The previous canola crop had averaged 2 tonnes per hectare and the Bouncer hybrid forage brassica was sown, without fertiliser, at a rate of 1.5 kilograms per hectare. “After sowing we had 30mm of rain and it germinated and grew quickly,” Mr Calvert said. Six weeks later 650 lambs were introduced to the paddock and had trouble keeping up with the feed. Mr Calvert said the lambs had access to the Bouncer hybrid forage brassica and an adjacent grass paddock and did particularly well when they could move between both areas.  “You could see them mow into the summer crop,” he said. “They were first cross lambs and put the weight on quickly.” The lambs were then sent off to market and replaced with additional stock at a later date during the winter.  Mr Calvert said the Bouncer hybrid forage brassica would be a good option when planted directly after the canola crop had been harvested. He said this would provide a grazing option earlier in the season and could then be sprayed out and replaced with a winter crop.  This quick rotation provides a good break crop over the summer period, some valuable feed and a chance to get on top of weed, disease and herbicide issues.

Ed Calvert, Lismore VIC

Keith AndersonBouncer helps fill summer feed gap on dairy - Bouncer Hybrid Forage Brassica

A blend which included Bouncer hybrid forage brassica has filled a vital feed gap on the dairy property of Keith Anderson on Pyree, near Nowra of the NSW south-coast. Mr Anderson said early summer was a traditional feed gap in the area with hot weather putting a stop to the ryegrass growth and other options not quite ready. Normally stored silage and hay is relied upon at that time of year, but last season Mr Anderson said he tried a mix of brassica, chicory, millet and lucerne to fill the feed gap.

The mix, which was predominantly millet, but included equal portions of Bouncer, chicory and lucerne was planted at a rate of 9 kilograms per hectare in the first week of October. Mr Anderson said they were able to graze the mix within six to seven weeks of planting which provided valuable feed at a time when traditionally the ryegrass was starting to die off. He said the early part of the summer had been quite mild so there were still some feed options around at the time. “Had it been a hot dry summer the feed would have been a real bonus. I think it is a good feed option between the seasons.” The paddock had previously been a patchy grass area which was disced up before the mix was sown. No fertiliser was used at planting although the paddock did receive an application of nitrogen just after the feed was first utilised.

Mr Anderson said he initially grazed half the paddock with the dairy cows but decided to then cut the forage as fine chop and give it to the cows on a feed pad. He said the mix was getting away from the cows at the time and they were leaving too much bulk which could be utilised better. “They had grazed half of it but it was just getting too far ahead.” Early establishment of the mix really impressed with Bouncer hybrid forage brassica establishing very quickly. “The brassica is doing really well,” Mr Anderson said. “It was up in the first few days and some time before the millet.” The Bouncer was also very quick to recover from grazing and was ready to feed again in just two weeks. Mr Anderson said the October plant was earlier than he would normally sow but it allowed him to graze the paddock a lot sooner. He said at the time the paddock was being grazed others in the district were just putting millet in so the October start provided a good advantage in the season.

Keith Anderson, Pyree NSW
Subzero Forage Brassica Farmers Feedback

Evan Hayes - Subzero Forage Brassica

An area of Subzero hybrid brassica planted in late spring has been designed to fill a feed gap in January on the dairy property of Evan Hayes, at Robertson, in the Southern Highlands of New South Wales. Mr Hayes said they planted the Subzero with an Italian ryegrass toward the end of October. “Usually January is a worst time for feed,” he said. At that time of year the dairy cows are normally feeding on silage so a grazing option is an added bonus. After providing grazing during the summer months the paddock will be direct-drilled with more ryegrass in February or March to provide feed options during the winter months. Mr Hayes said there was also a feed gap in on the property in late autumn, for Subzero hybrid brassica could be planted in February to provide another grazing option at that time of year. The spring planted Subzero and ryegrass paddock was sown into a paddock that hads been very wet over the winter time and needed to be ploughed up and regenerated. Turkey manure was added to the 2 hectare paddock and it was power harrowed before the hybrid and ryegrass was direct-drilled into the area.

The Subzero was planted at 6 kilograms per hectare and the ryegrass at 25 kilograms per hectare. Dry conditions followed planting with the area getting just one inch of rain over three falls during the crucial establishment phase. Mr Hayes said the pasture established well after the small rainfall events and hung on in the drier conditions without showing signs of slowing or wilting. He said that despite the lack of rainfall, there was enough growth there for the 2 hectare paddock to provide four to five days of grazing during the January period. The crop was planted later than originally anticipated and would have benefitted from an earlier rainfall if it had been sown three weeks prior. Despite the later plant it still held on very well and could then take advantage of the odd summer storm that is common in the area. “We usually get some summer storms come through,” Mr Hayes said. The dairy property is rainfall based with effluent the only liquid that is able to be put onto the paddocks. Ryegrass and red and white clover are the main winter feed options, with lucerne, millet and brassicas also utilised over the summer. The paddock was soil tested prior to planting and was not nutrient deficient, having had a program of lime and other options in the last few years. Friesian and Jersey cows make up the herd of 300 with calving occurring in both summer and autumn to take advantage of the milk pricing structure.

Evan Hayes of Robertson, NSW

Jock Wallace - Subzero Forage Brassica

For the second year running Subzero forage brassica has been an excellent grazing option over the summer period for Jock Wallace, at Cooma, in NSW. Mr Wallace said he had traditionally planted a forage brassica during spring each year.  A switch was made to Subzero in 2011 because the other options had a tendency to wilt away to nothing during the hot weather. “We just thought we would give it a go and we were really happy with it,” Mr Wallace said. The 2011 summer season was very favourable and the Subzero forage brassica performed very well after being planted with a ryegrass mix in early September. Mr Wallace said they were able to graze the 75 acre paddock from mid-December at a stocking rate of 12 sheep per acre through until April. He said the stock did particularly well on the feed, and the ryegrass provided grazing options though into autumn and winter. In 2011 Subzero was planted in September into a 50 acre paddock and provided grazing options from December 13 through the summer. A mob of 400 lambs was initially introduced to the paddock at a stocking rate of 8 per acre.

The paddock selected was not as fertile and the season not as wet as the previous year, however the Subzero continued to grow strongly and provide valuable feed. At the initial grazing the forage had reached a height of one foot. Mr Wallace said the main reason a summer crop was needed on the property was to get the sheep out of native pastures that contained burr. He said if the weaner lambs were allowed out in that area they ended up with corkscrew through their wool and it made it very difficult to control. Subzero is providing an option to graze at the time the corkscrew seed pods are developing and becoming an issue. A planting rate of between three and four kilograms has been used for both years and the crop emerged and established extremely well. In 2011 and ryegrass was sown with the seed at a rate between 6 and 8 kilograms per hectare and the combination worked very well. Single super at 120 kilograms per hectare was also applied to the paddocks. Mr Wallace said the combination of ryegrasses and Subzero worked in well together with each component being dominant and different stages of the season.

Jock Wallace of Cooma, NSW

Tim BarryTim Barry - Subzero Forage Brassica

Subzero was an ideal summer feed option on the property of Tim Barry, at Clunes, in central Victoria. Mr Barry planted 32 hectares of Subzero hybrid forage brassica in October last year in an area that had contained pasture. He put 800 lambs on the feed in January and the number was increased to 1200 when it was clear the initial numbers weren’t keeping up with the feed. “Slowly they got on top of it,” Mr Barry said. Merino and cross-bred lambs were born in the spring time and were weaned onto the Subzero forage brassica. They performed well through summer and early autumn. The mob continually grazed the area until there wasn’t anything left in May, at which time the paddock was sprayed out and planted down to wheat. Mr Barry said the paddock grew a magnificent stand of wheat, with the Subzero proving to be an ideal rotational option on the property. He said the rotation would involve a summer of Subzero hybrid forage brassica, followed directly by two wheat crops and a forage oat before the paddock is then planted to a perennial pasture.

Tim Barry, Clunes, Vic

.Brenton Wood - Subzero Forage Brassica

Subzero forage brassica has proved an excellent grazing option for dairy cows at the Cadell Training Centre, in the Riverland region of South Australia.  The training centre is a low security prison facility and has a range of agricultural enterprises including fruit tree orchards and an on-farm dairy. Brenton Wood, from the Cadell Training Centre, said they were milking 58 cows at the moment and had been buying in the majority of feed in recent years due to reduced water allocations. He said this season there was an opportunity to plant a crop and they elected to put Subzero forage brassica into two padocks totaling 3.5 hectares. The Subzero was planted on April 8 at a rate of 6 kilograms per hectare with an application of fertiliser at 120 kilograms per hectare. Mr Wood said the forage took off and they were able to graze from May 31.

An electric wire was run from one fence to the other and the cows were allowed to strip graze the first block after milking each morning. A test conducted on the forage helped determine how much could be consumed each day and the wire was adjusted accordingly.  Mr Wood said they estimated each cow was consuming between 7 and 9 kilograms of dry matter from the Subzero per day. The stock also had access to oaten and vetch hay after grazing and the diet meant they were milking well. Milk from the dairy is processed and used by other prison facilities around South Australia. Six weeks after the initial grazing of Subzero the cows were still travelling through the first paddock. Mr Wood said the Subzero had provided a huge bulk of feed and would continue to be grazed through the winter and into the spring period. He said the cows took to it readily and would eat the leaf and stem of the plant if left in the area long enough. Irrigation water was applied using overhead sprinklers during the early stages of the crop, although timely rainfall during the winter months meant it wasn’t needed as much over the period. In the last few years the facility has relied on bought in feed for the dairy cows but the introduction of Subzero has led to less forage being purchased.  “Overall the picture is looking very good,” Mr Wood said. “I am more than happy with the Subzero.”

Brenton Wood, Cadell SA

Lynette & Graeme DehnertForage Brassica very impressive at Ballan - Subzero Forage Brassica

A forage brassica that was planted later than anticipated due to wet weather has performed very well on the property of Graeme Dehnert and Lynette Dehnert, at Ballan, in the western districts of Victoria. Mr Dehnert said he originally wanted to sow the Subzero hybrid forage brassica in November to wean lambs onto, but the very wet summer meant it was not put in until February. When the Goldstrike Subzero was eventually planted early in 2011 it impressed him with its early vigour. “It was unreal how it grew,” Mr Dehnert said. “It germinated quickly and once it came up it just took off. I had a stock agent here when it was just two and a half weeks old and he though it had been in for five weeks.” The Denhert’s run Fernhill Southdown Stud and have 800 Southdown breeders as well as 300 head of cattle. Goldstrike Subzero was planted at a rate of 5 kilograms per hectare into two 17 acre side-by-side paddocks and the first ram lambs were introduced to the area just seven weeks after sowing. Mr Dehnert said ram lambs grazed one paddock and ewe lambs grazed the other and provided excellent feed from March through until late September. Each paddock was set stocked with a flock of 60 animals, and the sheep weighed every two weeks to determine weight gains.

Average weight gains from March through to June were 265 grams per day, or 1.85 kilograms per week during the cooler winter conditions. “The Subzero kept in front of them all the time,” Mr Denhnert said. “Feed wise - you just couldn’t knock it.” He said he was looking forward to sowing it earlier in November to see the feed throughout the summer and then into autumn and winter. Last year the Subzero was flogged out by the sheep in the spring before the paddocks were sprayed out, worked and then made ready for another crop of the forage. The crops received 90 kilograms per hectare of MAP at sowing last season, and will likely get a similar amount this year. Mr Dehnert said he would also look at adding some urea as a top-dress option to further encourage forage growth. Some of the rams bought up on Subzero forage were exhibited at various events and won Champion Royal Melbourne Show Southdown Class 1 ½ year old ram, Champion Bendigo Show Southdown Class 1 ½ year old ram and Champion all breeds Hamilton Sheep Vention 1 ½ year old ram.

Lynette & Graeme Dehnert, Ballan VIC

Joe TooheyExcellent weight gains with Subzero Forage Brassica - Subzero Forage Brassica

The introduction of Subzero forage brassica has led to excellent weight gains on the property of Joe Toohey, at Sherwood Grange, south of Mt Edgecombe, near Ballarat in Victoria. Mr Toohey said he first tried Subzero two years ago to replace some of the area which had traditionally gone to turnips. "Subzero has been great,” he said. “It has done very well.” He said cattle were gaining weight at rates of up to 1.2 kilograms per head per day on the Subzero forage brassica. Subzero is planted on the property any time between September and Christmas and does an excellent job of filling a feed gap at the end of the summer and going into autumn. “We can use Subzero late,” he said. Once you get to December you need to think of the other end of the season.” The crop was sown at the end of December in 2010 and was ready for its first grazing in eight to ten weeks. “They went right through until mid-April,” Mr Toohey said. “We are a breeding, fattening operation and they weigh a heap better on fodder crops” He said the paddock sizes on the property vary, although many are between 20 and 25 hectares and work well for grazing.

The stock are normally placed on an adjacent grass area and an open gate to the Subzero and then allowed access as they want it. “After about a week they are adjusted to the Subzero and they just love it,” he said. Anything up to 100 to 120 head will be used to graze a 20 hectare area and they can be utilising the forage for a month to six or eight weeks. “Our best month for weight gain is February,” Mr Toohey said. “We can finish the cattle and they are gone before winter. They do much better on Subzero than on grass.” He said the cattle go to a range of different markets and one buyer even came back this year and asked for the cattle raised on the Subzero as it was giving terrific sappy finished cattle. During the start the 2010 season the property was inundated with rain and the Subzero made better use of the soggy conditions than the turnips. Mr Toohey said Subzero was something that could get going quickly which was important for early feed and in very wet conditions. The success of the feed early in 2011 meant a lot more was planted late that year with a rate of 3 kilograms per hectare used.

Joe Toohey, Mt Edgecombe VIC

Ranger Plantain Farmers Feedback

Toad and Greg Heffernan - Ranger Plantain

Ranger plantain planted three years ago has kept producing high yields on the property of Toad Heffernan, at Candelo, on the south coast of New South Wales. Mr Heffernan originally planted the crop at a rate of 2 kilograms per hectare and has been amazed at the production the species has provided over the years. He said the crop was on irrigation away from the dairy but within walking access and the cows were able to graze it regularly over the time. “We are getting feed off it over time,” he said.  “I’m very impressed with it.” The Ranger has been allowed to seed a number of times and the result was a very thick stand that competed well with the other species in the paddock. At one stage it was so thick anapplication of herbicide was used to reduce numbers to approximately half so a ryegrass option could be drilled into it.

Mr Heffernan said he also took it as a silage option in the spring due to the tremendous growth. “We fed it in the winter and it came out like big banana leaves.  It produced some beautiful silage.” He said the cows milked well on the Ranger although the paddock was some distance from the dairy and the cows had to walk to the feed. “I would like to put some in closer to the dairy to prove that it is helping with the milk production.” He said the cows took to the feed readily and found it very palatable at all stages of its growth. The distance to the feed meant sometimes the closer areas were preferred so on more than one occasion the Ranger had to be slashed to stop it setting seed and bulking up even further. Mr Heffernan said he was also keen to trial Ranger under a dryland situation and believes it could work well. In some areas where cattle have transported the seed to an adjacent dryland block, the plantain has seeded well and produced grazing options. “It likes the moisture and warmth and doesn’t take long to grow,” Mr Heffernan said. He said Zulumaxarrowleaf clover had also performed very well on the property over a number of seasons.

Toad and Greg Heffernan, Candelo south coast New South Wales
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