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Moby Forage Barley Farmer's Feedback

Peter Grieve - Moby Forage Barley

Young bulls destined for next year’s sale grazed Moby barley through the spring on the Talooby Angus property at Bylong Valley, south-east of Mudgee, in New South Wales. Talooby Stud owner, Peter Grieve, said they held their bull sale on the first Friday in September each year and fed the proposed 2013 participants on the feed this season. While forage barley has been used on the property for many seasons, the ability of Moby to establish quickly and produce a result in a season that was not that favourable certainly impressed. “I’m impressed with this plant’s ability to get out of the ground and get going,” Mr Grieve said.  “It produced a fair bulk of feed.  I would like to see it under more favourable conditions.” The season had a bulk of rain during summer which provided good sub-soil moisture, but there was then eight months in which we had very little rainfall. Moby barley was planted at the end of May and received approximately an inch of rain in July which was accompanied by bitterly cold conditions.

Mr Grieve said they stocked the paddock in September, which was later than ideal but after the bull sale, and 50 young bulls fed off the 25 acre section. “It was 18 inches high and pretty impressive when the bulls went in there,” he said. The bulls thrived on the feed which held them in good condition through until summer where they were then fed on lucerne hay and transitioned to Rebound millet. Next year forage crops will likely be used to finish the bulls in readiness for the sale. Mr Grieve said he traditionally grew a lot of oats on the property but had found it difficult to plant them effectively due to the seasonal conditions. He said oats were a good option early in the year in February or March, but Moby barley had a great ability to emerge quickly under the cooler conditions of late autumn or winter. “I’ll use oats if I can get it in early but with barley it will get out of the ground in the warmer weather,” he said. Moby barley was planted at a rate of between 40 and 50 kilograms per hectare last season into a range of soil types. Angus cattle have grazed the property since 1953 and the stud operation was founded in 1969.

Peter Grieve, Bylong Valley, south-east of Mudgee, in New South Wales.

John McCarthy - Moby Forage Barley

Moby barley was grown for the first time and produced excellent yields on the property of John McCarthy, at Clifton, in the central Darling Downs in Queensland. Mr McCarthy said he placed the Moby barley alongside Dictator barley, which had been used in the past, and it performed well in the comparison. “Moby was a good yielder,” he said.  “With Dictator beside it, in most cases the Moby was better.  It seemed to stand out a bit.” The two barley options were planted side by side in the same paddock to provide a good comparison over a range of country. Yields of approximately 100 small square bales per acre were achieved from the Moby, with the produce being utilised on-farm and also sold to a number of end users. Mr McCarthy said he produced small squares and round bales from the barley and sold it into the horse and cattle market. He said the horse market had really taken to it as a feed and by mid-December there was very little barley left in the shed.

Oats are also grown on the property as a planting partner to the barley with the two cereal options working well together. “Barley generally makes better hay,” Mr McCarthy said.  “They seem to yield around the same.” Moby was planted in May, 2012 at a rate of between 45 and 50 kilograms per hectare.  Good quantities of urea were applied and the barley struck particularly well and made the most of the good conditions early in the season. Mr McCarthy said the sowing date was later than in some years although the Moby did establish particularly well and produced excellent yields at harvest. He said they would normally put an earlier crop of cereal in but were not able to last season. After a good beginning the year turned very dry and the cereal crops were watered once or twice during the spring time. John McCarthy also runs Rosehill Limousins from the Clifton property with a goal to breed well-muscled, soft cattle, structurally correct with docile temperament and high growth rates to suit commercial cattlemen. Hay and other forages from the property are utilised by the cattle.

John McCarthy, of Clifton, QLD

Russell Jenner - Moby Forage Barley

Moby forage barley produced excellent quality small square bale hay for the horse market on the “Scenic Rim” property of Russell and Jenny Jenner, at Kalbar, in the Fassifern Valley of Queensland. Mr Jenner said it was the second year they had used barley for hay on the property and last season planted 60 acres of Moby quite late in the autumn. It was saved for one large cut of hay and produced approximately 150 small square bales per acre in an excellent result. The intention had been to irrigate the block, but after two large rainfall events just after establishment there was no need for any additional watering. Moby barley grew through the early inundations with the help of an application of liquid fertiliser through the boom spray and went on to produce some high yields. Mr Jenner said they targeted the premium horse feed market through the Gold Coast hinterland and other areas and the Moby barley had been well received by their customers. He said there were pony club people who insisted their horses would not be able to eat barley hay. A sample of Moby barley hay was dropped off to try and next week the customers were ordering more of the produce. Feedback from the customers had been excellent with the Moby producing bales of soft, leafy hay which was very palatable.

There was not the wastage of leftover hay that had occurred with other barley hay types. By the start of December almost all of the Moby barley hay had been sold to customers. Mr Jenner said the feedback from the customers had been excellent and he was keen to put more of the forage in for the 2013 season. An earlier sowing date in 2013 could provide the opportunity for an additional hay cut or the ability to cut the barley down sooner in the spring and supply it to customers at that stage of the year. Moby barley is an ideal option for the hay market because of its rapid establishment, large leaf size and good disease resistance.  It stands up well and can be windrowed easily. Scenic Rim also produces lucerne hay which is also targeted at the premium horse market. ML99 has demonstrated excellent quality hay when compared to other winter active varieties and an initial plating of L56 lucerne has really impressed with its forage quality. Mr Jenner said it was important to sell hay at the true value rather than “giving it away” and the ability to produce a premium product certainly assisted in this aim.

Russell Jenner, from Kalbar, QLD

Mick and Cameron Lyon - Moby Forage Barley

Forage barley has been used as a good alternative to oats on the property of Mick Lyon, at Nobby, on the central Darling Downs. Mr Lyon said it was the second year Moby barley was grown and it had a number of advantages over oats including the fact that is was much less susceptible to rust. Rust is a major factor in Queensland and can cause issues with both yield and quality in susceptible varieties. Moby barley did not show signs of the disease and grew into a very healthy plant. Some 40 hectares of Moby barley was sown at a rate of 40,000 to 45,000 seeds per hectare in late February and established quickly to produce a bulk of forage. The planting date was designed so the forage could be cut for hay, as the days were getting longer, and then also produce other options later in the season. In late July and early August the forage barley was cut and baled in both large, round bales and small, square bales which were then sold into a number of local markets. Mr Lyon said small bales were aimed at the horse market, with the larger round bales sold as cattle feed.

He said the quality of hay from the Moby barley was very good and well accepted by the end users. The hay market on the Darling Downs can be very competitive and so quality is a major factor in selling any type of forage. Yields from the dryland block were around the five to six round bales per acre (12.5 to 15 round bales per hectare). The hay was cut prior to head emergence to ensure quality forage was produced and the barley also had an opportunity to regrow and be further utilised during the spring and early summer. With seasonal conditions that were very good early, but quite dry later, the Moby forage barley still produced excellent regrowth and Mr Lyon was able to graze the area two more times after the hay cut. He said the cattle took to the barley very quickly and did particularly well on the feed late in the season. The dry conditions of spring and summer affected all the forages and may have prevented further grazing options. Moby barley responded well to the little moisture that was available.

Mick and Cameron Lyon of Nobby, Queensland

David Barker - Moby Forage Barley

The ability to graze forage barley and then lock it up for hay has assisted in producing better quality forage on the property of David Barker, at Virginia, north of Adelaide in South Australia. Mr Barker said he had been growing Moby barley for a number of seasons and found it responded well to being grazed by cattle prior earlier in the season. During the 2011 season the Moby was down in mid-May and was able to be fed off to Murray Grey cattle during July. The timing of the graze was ideal as there was not a lot of other forage available and the alternative was to feed out grain and hay at that time of year. Mr Barker said the cattle grazed the area when the barley was around knee high. “They didn’t hammer it down to the ground, but they still grazed it quite heavily.  It was given a good trim.

He said the barley tillered out well after the grazing and came back quickly in the good seasonal conditions of the year. “When it stools out it tends to smother the weeds out as well,” he said. The barley was planted using a Chamberlain combine at a rate of 80 kilograms per hectare and established well. Mr Barker said the larger number of tillers from the grazed area equated to better quality hay where the stalks were not as thick. The hay was harvested in spring, with the crop reaching a height just above the knee when cut.  Hay was utilised on-farm or sold to local enterprises. During the 2011 season, an 8 acre area of Moby barley produced more than 90 1.5 metre round bales in a very good result. The following year was a lot drier so the Moby was able to be grazed early but ordinary conditions in spring prevented it from being cut for hay. Mr Barker said barley was primarily used as a break crop to control nematodes and other pest and disease issues and, during 2011, followed a pea crop. No nitrogen was added to the area because of the rotation from the legume, with Moby barley benefiting from the previous crop.

David Barker, of Virginia in South Australia

Adele Kiernan - Moby Forage Barley

Moby barley has been an excellent hay producer under organic conditions on the “Shamrockvale” property of Ross and Adele Kiernan, at Beaudesert, in southern Queensland. Adele Kiernan said they planted 200 acres of crops last season which was shared between forage barley and forage oats. The crops were planted relatively late in the year in June, but still grew well and were able to be cut for hay in late spring. Mrs Kiernan said it was the second year they had grown Moby and swapped to it from another forage oat because of its bulk. “The other barley had no body to it,” she said. Last year Moby was made into 8x3x3 large 300 kilogram square bales and yielded 3 tonnes per acre on the later plant.  The previous year Moby produced an average yield of 4.2 tonnes per acre. Some of the barley hay was used on farm to feed horses, while the rest was sold to a variety of end users that included organic dairies from New South Wales and some local people. Mrs Kiernan said the hay quality from the barley was exceptional with one customer describing it as A-Class. She said there was a need to educate people on just how good barley hay could be as a feed option. “One guy tried the barley on his growing steers and it went really well,” she said. 

It also produces very good chaff.” The plan next season is to get the barley in much earlier and produce one major cut from the area and then a second cut after it grew again. Even after the late cut in 2012 the Moby regrew strongly and provided enough confidence that it would provide an excellent chance for the second harvest. Mrs Kiernan said barley was grown in conjunction with oats and was a good option as a companion crop. “The oats gave more yield but were more likely to get rust,” she said.  “The barley was really healthy and it seems to handle the heat a bit better.” Moby was cut for hay just as it started to flower but before it had reached the milky doe stage “It was beautiful to cut,” Mrs Kiernan said.  “It stood up really well” Organic hay has been produced on the property for a number of seasons with green manure crops utilised to provide nutrition and improve the soil structure.

Adele Kiernan pictured with Simon Odling, of Beaudesert, QLD

Jeff Roads - Moby Forage Barley

Moby forage barley has fill a vital feed gap during the cold winter period on the property of Jeff and Cheryl Roads, at Penshurst, east of Hamilton in the Western Districts of Victoria. Mr Roads said the area was traditionally very cold and wet during the months of June, July and August, and he struggled to produce adequate feed for grazing during that period. Moby forage barley was suggested as an option and a 30 acre paddock was planted in early April of 2012. The crop was sown at a reduced rate of 45 kilograms per hectare and included in a mix of annual ryegrass and rape. It was direct-drilled into a cereal paddock from the previous season which had been grazed off and then been burnt. Mr Roads said the plan was to graze the Moby pasture in eight weeks and they were able to achieve this with a large mob of sheep entering the paddock in early June.

He said his agronomist had recommended putting the biggest mob possible and just over 300 maiden ewes grazed the 30 acre section. A stock rotation of two weeks on and two weeks off continued through until early September. “It was great to have feed at that time of year,” Mr Roads said. He said they had grown barley for grain in the past but this plant was quite unique in the way it grew. “This plant looks totally different,” he said.  “There are lots of tillers all over it.  The more you hammer it the better it thickens out and responds.” A nearby Tetila ryegrass paddock was also quite productive, but did not produce the sheer bulk of feed that came from the Moby paddock. “The Moby barley had more production than the tetila ryegrass did,” he said.  “It was great for sheer production.” He said both paddocks produced a lot of feed during the winter period and took the pressure off the rest of the farm. The alternative would have been to feed out during those colder winter months. A decision was made to convert the paddock to L56 lucerne in the spring and so a higher stocking rate was used up until September to reduce the bulk of feed on the area. It was then sprayed out in the second week of September however the dry conditions that followed meant the lucerne was not planted. The paddock was instead rotated through to a millet and rape blend over summer. Mr Roads said the planned rotation into lucerne helped reduce the weed pressure and prepared the soil well for the legume option. He said they would look at incorporating Moby barley into a similar rotation in 2013.

Jeff Roads, of Penshurst, in Victoria

Dianne and Bill Morrall - Moby Forage Barley

The quick response of Moby barley amazed Bill Morrall, of Swanfels, east of Warwick on the southern Darling Downs in Queensland. Mr Morrall said they had used another barley option the previous year but had Moby recommended to them when the previous one was unavailable. He said he was pleased, as Moby produced four grazings for cattle in one area and was also able to be locked up for hay production in another. Moby was planted at approximately 38 kilograms per hectare in late March and amazed with its excellent germination and establishment. Mr Morrall said the sowing rate was adequate because it stooled out well. “I was always one to plant other varieties but this exceeded our expectations from results that we had seen in previous seasons,” he said. “There wasn’t much moisture in the ground and it only had 30mm of follow up rain. To receive these results with minimal rainfall was remarkable. We were able to graze it a lot earlier. It was up in a few days and got going.” The Moby was first grazed by cattle when it was knee high, with an electric wire used to move the stock across the contoured paddock. “No sooner you took them off and it was growing again,” Mr Morrall said. Subsequent grazings occurred relatively quickly, although the crop did reach heights of more than a metre at stages during the season.

When wet weather intervened at one stage the area was locked up and produced 30 large square bales which were then available as cattle feed later on. Mr Morrall said the hay was palatable with the cattle filling up on the barley fodder over summer in preference to the grain that was also available. “The cattle are fat. They are doing really well.” He said in one area he ran out of Moby seed and put a strip of Camellia oats side-by-side. “Moby grew a foot higher than the oats and stayed above the oats all the time. The Moby didn’t get any rust as well.” The success of Moby has meant it will definitely be planted again on the property next season. “I’d recommend it anywhere, Mr Morrall said. “Once it gets going it will go like mad. If you get onto something that grows well you’ve got to stick to it. He said the barley could probably be planted even earlier in the season with its ability to germinate quickly and take advantage of the warmer conditions.

Dianne and Bill Morrall, of Swanfels, near Warwick on the southern Darling Downs

Cody Whiteman - Moby Forage Barley

Cattle showed a preference to Moby barley when compared to other crops on the Fortrus Pastoral property at Gympie, in the Wide Bay region of Queensland. Manager Cody Whiteman, who runs a Droughmaster beef cattle stud operation on the property, said the Moby barley was sown at a light rate with ryegrass and performed well across the season. He said the cattle seemed to prefer the Moby barley to other crops. “We also put it in paddocks with oats and they preferentially grazed the Moby barley,” he said. The barley / ryegrass combination was direct drilled after a forage sorghum crop in May of 2012 with Moby sown at 10 kilograms per acre and the ryegrass at 5 kilograms per acre. Mr Whiteman said combination of barley and ryegrass worked particularly well with the Moby providing extra roughage in the diet.

He said ryegrass on its own seemed to be a bit soft with the two options working well together. The crop was planted under a centre pivot and irrigated when needed, although the area did benefit from some winter rainfall early in the season. An initial grazing included 200 cattle on the area for a few days, before it was spelled and crash grazed twice by 150 head. Cattle were rotated through the area every 21 to 28 days before it was locked up to produce round bale hay. Mr Whiteman said the Moby produced excellent hay which would be used to feed weaner cattle in the future. He said after cutting the area responded well and was able to be grazed by 100 heifers through until the paddock was transitions back into a forage sorghum crop. Oats are traditionally planted on the property and the introduction of Moby forage barley provides a good alternative crop. Moby is quite quick to first feed which is an important attribute in an intensive grazing operation and could also help fill the feed gap that can occur in the autumn and early winter period. It demonstrated quick regrowth after grazing and also showed no signs of rust. Rust has been a major issue in oaten crops in Queensland for many years, and the option of a forage cereal in the form of Moby barley is quite attractive. Mr Whiteman said a key to Moby was its palatability with cattle preferentially grazing it over other crop options in the paddock.

Cody Whiteman, of the Fortrus Patoral property at Gympie, QLD

Ross Kemp - Moby Forage Barley

Potential of new forage barley seen on Riverton property. The potential of a new forage barley variety was seen on the property of Ross Kemp of Riverton, in South Australia, last season. Mr Kemp grew Moby forage barley as a late-planted seed crop last season and said he could see its suitability as a grazing, silage or hay option in future years. The crop was sown on June 6 last year into a paddock that had contained pasture for the previous three seasons. Mr Kemp said the crop could be planted dry prior to the autumn break, and could possibly be grazed two times before being taken through as a silage, hay or grain option. “I will be looking at sowing one early and one in June as a comparison.” Last year, the paddock was sprayed with RoundUp in May, then ripped up, before it was sprayed with 2 litres per hectare of Treflan and sown in early June. A planting rate of 52 kilograms per hectare and DAP was applied at 75 kilograms per hectare. The crop was rolled the next day and Boxer Gold at 2.5 litres per hectare was used for grass control.

Mr Kemp said rainfall in June and July kept the paddock quite wet in very cold conditions. Five weeks after sowing, the crop was 40cm in height and was treated with 40 kilograms per hectare of urea. It also received an application of supertrace elements and sulphate ammonia in mid-August. Mr Kemp said there was certainly the potential to graze the barley as it provided a bulk of feed through the year. He said once it got away it outgrew the ryegrass and wild oats in the paddock and produced a large amount of bulk. By September the crop was 1.2 metres in height and exhibited good standability. “It stood up really well compared to other barleys in the district,” Mr Kemp said. “The barley shows huge promise as I would estimate the dry matter at between 10 and 12 tonnes per hectare.” Mr Kemp said. He said the Moby forage barley would make an ideal hay option with its good standability and quality. “The stems looked so succulent and fresh when squashed between fingers. The heads had an average of five nodes which were also soft compared to oats.” He said the stems were not much thicker than a pencil and also compared favourably to oaten crops. “The oats in this district were like bamboo,” he said.

Ross Kemp of Riverton, South Australia

Matt Gledhill - Moby Forage Barley Steven Heath

A crop of Moby barley was grazed six times and then cut for silage on the property managed by Matt Gledhill at Undera in northern Victoria. Mr Gledhill sowed the Moby barley into an 8 hectare paddock in the first week of March and was impressed with the early vigour of the crop.  “It jumped out of the ground and we were able to get the first grazing when it was about a foot high,” he said. The area was grazed by a mob of 30 cows and calves with an electric wire used to move the cattle across the paddock.  It took about four days for the cattle to graze the paddock before it was spelled to regrow for the next grazing. “They strip grazed it very intensively and brought it back to nothing,” Mr Gledhill said. “It was there to be flogged.” After the initial grazing the cattle were re-introduced to the paddock at least once every month at a time when the crop was approximately knee-high. 

“It just kept coming back,” Mr Gledhill said. After six good grazings the paddock was locked up and then harvested as round bale silage in October. A yield of approximately 15 bales per hectare at sowing was achieved. Mr Gledhill said he was amazed at the feed from the paddock over the six month period.  Moby barley was sown at a rate of 85 kilograms per hectare into six inch row spacings. It received an application of DAP at 100 kilograms per hectare.  The paddock had contained pasture previously and was worked up prior to the Moby barley being sown dry. It received an initial irrigation after planting to germinate the seed and then one subsequent watering prior to the first grazing. Good seasonal conditions through the year meant there was no need for any further irrigations and the barley responded well to the in-crop rainfall and available moisture. Separate applications of urea at a rate of 100 kilograms per hectare, were placed on the crop after the first grazing and at the second-last grazing.

Matt Gledhill, Undera VIC

Trent Adams - Moby Forage Barley Steven Heath

A crop of Moby forage barley produced excellent lamb weight gains on the Chatsworth House property at Chatsworth, in the Western Districts of Victoria. Trent Adams, of Chatsworth House, said they traditionally grew a lot of oats on the property and were looking for a complimentary option to break up the cropping rotation. He said he put in a 25 hectare paddock of Moby barley in mid-May to see how it would perform as an alternative to oats. The crop was sown at 70 kilograms per hectare and received 100 kilograms per hectare of Megaeasy fertiliser when planted on May 14. Approximately 1000 lambs were introduced to the paddock in early July and grazed the 25 hectare area for the next two and a half weeks.

The lambs were weaned onto the paddock at ages seven to eight weeks and were sold aged 12 to 14 weeks.  “At that time the lambs seemed to hit their peak and put a lot of weight on,” Mr Adams said. They achieved an average carcass weight between 22 and 23 kilograms each.  On average each lamb achieved a weight gain of 3.5 to 4 kilograms per week or between 500 and 580 grams per day. Mr Adams said the growth of the Moby barley was very good and they were able to graze it when the crop was just six to eight weeks old.  He said the Moby was between shin and knee height and then grazed down to just above ankle height.  Outback oats has been the major forage cereal grown on the property in recent seasons and has performed particularly well. Moby barley and Tuckerbox triticale were introduced this season to fill a feed gap in the middle of winter.

Trent Adams

Dean Vinnicambe & Hollee - Moby Forage Barley

Dean VinnicombeMOBY BARLEY IMPRESSES ON NORTHERN VICTORIA DAIRY FARM

A paddock of Moby barley provided a bulk of feed after being planted early, on the property of Dean Vinnicombe at Calival, in the northern part of Victoria. Mr Vinnicombe said he planted the Moby barley at the end of March into a paddock that had contained vetch the previous year. It was sown to both red and black soil types and performed well in both. Once the Moby barley was established, it was strip grazed approximately every three weeks and provided a bulk of feed through winter and into spring. “We were really happy with it,” Mr Vinnicombe said. He said the plan with the Moby barley was to sow it early and produce a big enough wedge of feed to graze the cows through winter and spring. The Moby received its first grazing on May 16 and was then generally grazed by the dairy cows once a day until the area was fed off and allowed to recover.

In one area they grazed dry cows before spraying the paddock for weeds and locking it up for hay. Silage was also made from the feed. On the home farm lactating cows grazed Moby and milked well on the feed. Mr Vinnecombe said by introducing Moby barley into the system it takes the pressure off the ryegrass. “It just saves the ryegrass,” he said. “If it does get wet the barley is our sacrifice paddock.” He said the property was dry in June and July and also did not receive much in the way of rainfall in September. Some of the Moby received one irrigation in the spring to finish it off. “We put some manure on it and hit it with nitrogen when it needed it.” At the end of the season the Moby barley was sprayed off and replaced with SowSmart Summer Feed Blend which is predominantly made up of Rebound millet and also had Balance chicory, Subzero forage brassica and Rajah red clover.

Dean Vinnicombe, Calival, Victoria

Graeme Marsh - Moby Forage Barley

Graeme MarshMOBY BARLEY FILLING EARLY FEED GAP

A crop of Moby forage barley has filled the early winter feed gap for Graeme Marsh from Colinta Holdings at Singleton in the lower Hunter Valley of New South Wales. Moby barley established rapidly after being planted in early April and allowed Mr March to have feed very early in the season. The forage barley was ready for grazing much earlier than oats and ryegrass which were planted at a similar time on the property. Weaner steers took to the Moby barley well and intensively grazed the area. Palatability was very good with the stock leaving very little feed behind. After grazing the paddock was spelled and during this time grew rapidly to provide further feed opportunities within five weeks. All-up the paddock was grazed three times before being locked up and producing multiple silage cuts through the spring time. Moby had been planted at 100 kilograms per hectare with an application 125 kilograms per hectare of DAP.

The paddock was also top-dressed 200 kilograms per hectare after the second grazing. Corn had been previously planted to a section, with the area worked prior to sowing and the Moby barley planted at 5 inch row intervals. The barley proved a good partner with oats and ryegrass because it was ready to feed earlier but also finished earlier in the season when there was still good feed available from the other crops. By maturing earlier the Moby barley was able to be readied for corn which was a better option than in a ryegrass paddock. In previous years the paddock would have been ploughed through actively growing ryegrass so the Moby worked well as a management strategy.

Graeme Marsh, Singleton, Hunter Valley, NSW

Jamie and Brett HarriganJamie and Brett Harrigan - Moby Forage Barley

FORAGE BARLEY A KEY TO DAIRY FEED AT NOBBY

Forage barley has become an integral part of the dairy feed system on the Harrigan Farming Co enterprise at Nobby on the central Darling Downs in Queensland. Jamie Harrigan said they traditionally used forage oat varieties on the property but introduced forage barley as an option four years ago. This season Moby forage barley was planted for the first time and impressed with its performance alongside forage oats. “The barley was a little bit quicker at the start,” Mr Harrigan said. He said the Moby grew rapidly and soon produced a bulk of feed. There were no disease issues throughout the year and the barley was strip grazed in conjunction with the oats throughout the winter and spring period. Mr Harrigan said 300 milking cows grazed a strip of forage cereal each day and were milking well on both barley and oats. The forages on the property are grown under dryland conditions and a crop is planted every time there is a decent rainfall event.

Forage cereals were planted in March, April and May and an oat crop was also sown on the property in September. Some 50 hectares of Outback oats were planted in early September at a time when the option was between oats and forage sorghum. Mr Harrigan said it was not normal practice to plant oats that late in the season, however the cooler condition meant it was a better option than sorghum at that stage. He said the Outback oats performed very well and was chest height in late November producing a bulk of feed. The Outback oats had also been planted earlier in the season but were wiped out by excessive rainfall shortly after sowing. Replacement seed, which was sown in September, was claimed under the Seed Distributors Establishment Guarantee program. Under the program the Outback oats were replaced at half the original purchase price because they failed to establish satisfactorily in the first thirty days.

Jamie and Brett Harrigan, Nobby QLD

Andrew HallAndrew Hall - Moby Forage Barley

PASTURE TRIAL DEMONSTRATED BENEFITS OF MOBY BARLEY

A pasture trial conducted on the RA and JM Hall property at Manoora in the mid-north of South Australia demonstrated the benefits of Moby forage barley in comparison to oats. Andrew Hall said they would have normally grown oats on the property but decided to plant larger areas of Moby forage barley after the trial work. He said the growth habit and ability to provide abundant feed within the winter at traditional feed gap periods, meant it was a good option. Mr Hall is an enthusiastic sheep producer and chairperson of the Mid North Young Guns who farms with his parents in a mixed farming enterprise. The operation crops 1300 acres each year and runs 1350 ewes consisting of self-replacing Merino and Merino / Dohne crossbreeding flocks. After initially sowing 20 hectares of Moby barley in 2010 the area of the variety increased to 80 hectares over two properties at Spalding and Manoora.

The Moby forage barely was sown at a rate of 60 kilograms per hectare with vetch in mid-May of 2011. Urea was applied at 50 kilograms per hectare and the pasture established quickly and jumped out of the ground to produce feed early in the season and at a time where forage options are hard to come by. The majority of the pastures were rotationally grazed throughout winter and spring although one 20 hectare area was left alone with the intention of utilising the feed in November. There is normally a gap between harvest and mating season so the conserved forage was a great option to fill the void at that time of year. At one stage of the season Mr Hall introduced 300 merino lambs to a five hectare area and the Moby barley produced enough feed for a four week period. “The lambs did not leave one bit,” Mr Hall said. “The plants had run to head and were standing approximately 160cm tall and they chewed it down to the ground. “I’ve found, due to Moby being an awnless variety, the sheep eat the heads and all, instead of taking all the lower leaf matter and leaving the heads still standing,” he said. Mr Hall said Moby was a good all-round performer by providing early grazing within five to six weeks of sowing and is an excellent option for strip grazing. He said Moby could be left until head emergence with very little loss of dry matter forage when grazing and it could also be used as a handy hay option.

Andrew Hall, Manoora SA

Darren BarkerDarren Barker - Moby Forage Barley

MOBY BARLEY AN IMPRESSIVE FEED OPTION

Moby barley has proved an impressive feed option for Darren Barker, at Nullawil, in north-western Victoria over the past two seasons. Mr Barker said he first used Moby in the 2010 season which was highlighted by good rainfall. Moby forage barely was planted to a 40 hectare paddock and was providing sheep feed shortly after sowing. “It was fantastic quick feed,” Mr Barker said. They were grazing it five to six weeks after sowing.” The paddock was split into three sections and was able to be grazed throughout the season and at one stage had 1000 sheep on the paddock for a six week period. “It provided a heap of feed,” he said. “At the electric fence where the sheep couldn’t graze, it grew to be three and four foot high.”Grazing cereals have not been grown on the property before and in 2010 the Moby forage barley was also trialled alongside Hindmarsh barley and Correll wheat. Mr Barker said the other two options did not return as quickly after grazing and provided a lot less feed than Moby.

Darren Barker, Nullawil VIC

Huon SmithHuon & Colleen Smith - Moby Forage Barley

BOONARA PERFORMANCE HORSES UTILISING FORAGE CEREALS

An innovative mix of Moby barley and Outback oats has produced long-term grazing on the property of Huon & Colleen Smith, who run ‘Boonara Performance Horses’ at Goomeri in the Burnett region of Queensland. Mr Smith said the mix of the two different crops in a 50 / 50 blend had worked well on the property to feed their horses. “They eat the barley and then eat the oats,” he said. Moby barley is very quick out of the ground so provided the first available feed after being sown in the autumn of 2011. The barley provided excellent grazing options at a time when the feed was most needed. Mr Smith said brood mares preferentially grazed the Moby early in the season, but switched to the oats as they matured towards spring. In another paddock Moby was planted as a standalone variety and was initially destined to be cut for round bale silage. Instead it was left and cut for hay and produced forage of good quality which was was taken up well by the horses.

Huon & Colleen Smith, Goomeri QLD
Outback Forage Oats Farmers Feedback

Luke and Brett Graham - Outback Forage Oats

Outback oats sown for cattle feed has produced excellent regrowth on the property of Brett Graham, at Arthurton, in the Yorke Peninsula of South Australia. Mr Graham, who has the Broomfield Black Angus Stud, planted Outback oats besides Winteroo oats in a 20 hectare property last season. Winteroo are the normal oats grown, but he decided to try some Outback oats because of its ability to come back after being grazed hard. The oats were planted at a rate of 140 kilograms per hectare, into nine inch row spacings in early May. A small amount of rain had been received prior to the seeding but then conditions dried up until a reasonable drop in late May. “I was worried that it had germinated and dried up, but it all popped out and went ahead,” Mr Graham said. The paddock of oats were left until it was just under hip height and then the 20 hectare area was grazed by 120 head of cattle for a period of two months.

Initially the cattle ate the Winteroo down to a height of about a foot and then turned to the Outback oats and grazed it right down to the ground. “Outback can be flogged right to the ground and then it stools out a bit as it comes back,” Mr Graham said.  “I was to get two grazings from the Outback oats.” In comparison, the Winteroo tended to just the one grazing option and would only come back if a large amount of rain was received during the spring period. Unfortunately on the property the rainfall in spring and early summer was almost non-existent so there was not a lot of additional regrowth opportunity available. Despite the dry conditions the Outback oats were still providing green pick for the bulls in the middle of December. Mr Graham said the Outback oats had a much coarser leaf and a lot more bulk than the Winteroo and seemed an excellent grazing oat option. Oats are planted on the property each season and are the major source of winter and spring grazing. “We get three times as much feed as other options,” Mr Graham said.  “You have got to have a bulk of feed for cattle.” He said the oats contained high protein and high sugar levels and the cattle were “mud fat” on the feed. The oats were planted with 60 kilograms per hectare of urea and 120 kilograms per hectare of DAP. Luke Graham and Brett Graham of Arthurton, SA had good regrowth from Outback oats.

Brett Graham, at Arthurton, in the Yorke Peninsula of South Australia

Steve and Harry Reichel - Outback Forage Oats

Outback oats have been an excellent grazing and hay option for Steve Reichel at Muswellbrook, in the Hunter Valley of New South Wales. Mr Reichel said they had used Outback oats for a number of seasons under both dryland and irrigation and saw the real potential of the forage in the excellent conditions of 2011. He said the oats were utilised in both large and small areas in February and March of that year and were able to be first grazed in May. The Shorthorn cross and Simmental cross cattle strip-grazed the larger paddocks, with the help of an electric wire, and crash grazed the smaller areas. In all cases the oats provided good feed and then regrew quickly when the area was spelled. “The first grazing the oats were knee high and the second grazing they were a bit taller,” Mr Reichel said. He said the good season and the ability of the Outback oats to come back quickly meant they were able to get two good grazings from it before locking it up for a cut of hay. “We filled the hay sheds,” he said. That Outback. It’s good stuff.”

The hay produced was kept on the property and provided a valuable feed option as the season dried off during the spring of 2012. “I can remember having to buy in hay during the drought,” Mr Reichel said.  “I never want to do that again.” He said he really liked how Outback provided two good grazings and the option of making hay at the end of the season. “It also has good broad leaves and stands well in the paddock.  It was all still standing up when we were a bit late for some of it. “The hay made at the end was nice and sweet as well.” Hills, gullies and flat country are included on the property, with Outback oats performing well under a range of soil types and conditions. The oats were planted at a rate of 60 to 70 kilograms per hectare and had Granulock 15 prior to sowing with some areas getting additional fertiliser after the second grazing. During 2011 approximately two thirds of the oats planted were under dryland conditions, with the yields from grazing and hay very similar to the irrigated areas. In a year of good rainfall there was a break in the weather to cut the oats and harvest the hay without it getting wet.

Steve and Harry Reichel, Muswellbrook, in the Hunter Valley of New South Wales

Stephen McCracken - Outback Forage Oats

Outback oats provided excellent feed from spring through to summer last season on the property of Stephen McCracken, at Elliston, on the west coast of The Eyre Peninsula, of South Australia. Mr McCracken first used Outback oats in 2009 which provided him with enough confidence to grow the forage again in 2012. Oats were planted at a rate of 80 kilograms per hectare into two 20 acre paddocks, with the first made up entirely of Outback oats and the second area half Outback oats and half Winteroo oats. In the paddock that was half Outback and half Winteroo it was interesting the way the ewes and lambs preferentially grazed the forage. “The first lot eaten was the Outbacks,” Mr McCracken said.  “They grazed it off before the Winteroo was even touched.  I think it demonstrates the palatability of the Outback oats.”” Originally the oats were planted in early April, but were followed immediately by dry weather and didn’t establish until breaking rain later in the season. Once it did germinate, the Outback oats grew rapidly and was able to be grazed from August onwards. Mr McCracken said the growth was impressive as it went from being too short to graze to being approximately 60cm in height, in very little time.

He said 250 ewes and lambs were introduced to the 20 acre paddock and slowly worked their way through. “They ended up staying in the paddock throughout the year,” he said.  “The ewes came out at the end of October and the lambs were put straight back in.” They were still grazing the paddock in early December and the odd oats plant was still showing signs of green shoots at that late stage. Mr McCracken said the performance of the oats was excellent, particularly considering the seasonal conditions in which very little rainfall was received from September through to December. He said in a year where normal spring rain was received, there would be an opportunity to spell the paddock and allow it to regrow for the second major grazing. “It would have been good to have another inch of rain,” he said. The 20 acre paddock of straight Outback oats also had very little weed issues, with the planting rate helping smother out any competition. “I’m going to do it again this year,” Mr McCracken said.  “The feed value has been enormous.  I see real value in it.” He said the lambs were in good condition after grazing the Outback oats over spring.

Stephen McCracken, of Elliston, on the west coast of The Eyre Peninsula, of South Australia

Andrew Thompson - Outback Forage Oats

The success of Outback oats over the past two seasons mean it will be the major source of forage grown on the property of Andrew Thompson, at Balliang, in the Western Districts of Victoria. Mr Thompson said they wanted to try the oats in 2011 and travelled down to Gippsland specifically to get the seed prior to sowing. He said that decision paid off with excellent feed from the Outback oats in its initial season on the property. The oats were planted again in 2012 with the crop sown at the start of April into a number of smaller scale paddocks designed for grazing. Most of the paddocks were about 2.5 hectares in size which made them ideal as quick grazing options through winter and spring. Mr Thompson said the season was quite dry early on and he was surprised at how well the oats stood up during those conditions. “They stayed and hung there and hung there and then we had a rain and away they went.” He said he had expected them to go to head without rain, but they hung on well.

Once conditions improved, the Outback oats provided a bulk of feed and were grazed regularly by Dexter cattle. “They have a big leaf and a lot of bulk,” Mr Thompson said.  “We hard-grazed the paddock and probably go a bit overboard.  We definitely punish them.” The cattle grazed a section for two to three days and were then transitioned to another paddock. Over the winter and spring the cattle rotated through the oats, which continued to respond after each grazing and produced a bulk of feed throughout the time. In the middle of October an irrigator was used to water a spring sown oat crop allowing it to grow vigorously with the additional moisture. “Three to four days later you could see where the irrigator went through,” Mr Thompson said. The oats provided options for both grazing and hay during the summer period. Mr Thompson said he preferred oats over pasture because it was able to be grazed very quickly and it provided a bulk of feed over the winter period. He said the oats had been direct-drilled into the previous year’s pasture paddock and received 110 kilograms per hectare of straight super early on and additional nutrition just prior to a rainfall event in June. Dexter cattle are used on the property because of their temperament and Mr Thompson also runs South African Dorper sheep for meat production. The success of Outback oats means it will be the only oats variety grown on the property again next season.

Andrew Thompson, of Balliang, in the Western Districts of Victoria

Angelo and Dean Lombardozzi - Outback Forage Oats

An experiment that pitted Outback oats against Suparoo oats on the property of Angelo and Dean Lombardozzi of Tatura, Victoria demonstrated the ability of the Outback oats to go further in the season and produce higher yields. Dean Lombardozzi said he initially trialled the two in a side-by-side experiment at various planting rates and conducted a plot cut on the area on September 8 last season. The oats had been planted in late April and the cut taken 133 days later.  Yields from the plots ranged from 9 to 10.8 tonnes per hectare with the higher returns coming from the Outback oats at planting population of 40 and 60 kilograms per hectare. Mr Lombardozzi said a planting rate of 80 kilograms per hectare was common in the area and it was interesting to see the higher yields coming from the lower plant populations. He said the lower plant population from the Outback oats produced four to five tillers per plant, compared to the higher plant populations which had between two and three.

The real benefit of Outback oats was demonstrated after the initial cut when it was able to take advantage of a spring rainfall event and regrow vigorously. “The Suparoo didn’t come back at all whereas the Outback oats were two and a half feet tall,” Mr Lombardozzi said. He said there could have been a real opportunity to harvest the Outback oats for silage in the spring and then lock it up for a hay cut in November. In an adjacent paddock, Outback oats and Suparoo oats were planted side-by-side and eventually cut for hay in mid-November. Mr Lombardozzi said the 1.5 hectares which was predominantly Suparoo oats produced 37 large square bales from it, compared to the area dominated by Outback which yielded 69 large square bales. He said the Outback oats were an erect type so would also lend itself well as a companion plant with another species. “It would be fantastic with a medic – it would give the companion species a chance.” He said the Outback oats looked to be a good grazing option in the area and then could be locked up for hay to take advantage of any spring rainfall events. Last season the crop was planted into an old pasture paddock and didn’t receive any additional nitrogen at seeding or throughout the year. Tests showed adequate nutrition at planting and the crop was sown relatively early after a rainfall event. Mr Lombardozzi said the season was a bit patchy and the crops had to ensure a dry spell during August and early September.

Angelo and Dean Lombardozzi, of Tatura, Victoria

Jason Black - Outback Forage Oats

Outback oats drilled directly into an existing lucerne stand provided silage and multiple hay cuts for dairy farmer and hay maker, Jason Black at Nanango, in the South Burnett region of Queensland. Mr Black said the lucerne stand was three years old and still producing well, but the addition of oats allowed them to produce a bulk of forage through the spring and early summer. Outback oats were direct-drilled into the lucerne at a rate of 30 kilograms per hectare, which was down on the 40 kilograms per hectare the cereal was sown as a straight crop option on the property. The lighter rate established well after being sown in April and was taken for silage in September with the forage stored straight into a bunker. Mr Black said there was a lot of silage harvested from the paddock and the Outbacks regrew quickly after the initial cut. He said within three weeks, the 30 acre area was ready to cut again and produced close to 600 small square bales off the paddock. A similar time elapsed and the oats and lucerne mix was ready to cut again. This time the area was harvested as large round bales and produced 130 when taken in late November. The lucerne component of the mix was starting to hit its straps coming into summer and was starting to take over from the oats.

Mr Black said the oats produced a bulk of tonnage by being added to the lucerne stand and suited the timing of the other crop. He said oat varieties used in that situation needed to be quick out of the ground and to an initial graze if needed. It also had to have excellent regrowth and the ability to produce high yields without sacrificing quality. Outback oats filled all of those criteria and enabled him to utilise the high quality forage on-farm or to local markets where premium hay was in demand. Irrigation water was used to establish the oats and also between cuts. The area was also provided with adequate fertiliser to ensure the crop was not looking for nutrition. Outback oats were also direct-drilled into some Rhodes grass and kikuyu pasture and, despite not getting the attention of the other paddock, still produced excellent cattle feed last season. Lucerne on the property includes the Q75 variety and is targeted at feedlot markets, horse markets and in-house on the dairy.

Jason Black, of Nanango, QLD

Mick Bladwell - Outback Forage Oats

Outback oats were used to turn an ordinary paddock into excellent feed throughout winter and spring on the property of Mick Bladwell, at Towrang, near Goulburn in New South Wales. Mr Bladwell said the oats were able to produce good feed for ewes and lambs over the winter months despite not being planted until late April. “I wanted it in a bit earlier because where I live it turns cold quite quickly. The oats kept going through winter through frosts of -4º and -5º.” The 130 acres of oats was split into four areas and a mob of 70 lambs and their ewes allowed to graze each section over the winter. “They would graze one area for a week or so and then move onto the next one,” Mr Bladwell said. He said the oats recovered well when the areas were spelled between grazings and the lambs grew well off the feed. Lambing occurred in April and the stock were moved onto the oats shortly afterwards. “We didn’t have a lot of rain until after September. They flogged it out and chewed the oats right off.

It is good to get a bit of green pick.” The majority of the lambs were sold to market in mid - October, with the Outbacks taking them through to market in very good condition. Mr Bladwell said the ewes also held their condition and milked well on the feed. The country planted to oats was generally unproductive in recent years and was treated with lime, fallowed and ploughed prior to the Outbacks going in. “It is just a bit of trial and error on what you want to do and how it suits your area,” Mr Bladwell said. Next season Outback oats will be planted again to the same area although Moby barley is also being considered as an early-sown option. Both cereal forage options will be considered for sowing in February or March to take advantage of the better weather conditions at that time of year. Mr Bladwell said the warmer weather would help the forage go ahead and provide good feed prior to the winter months

Mick Bladwell, at Towrang, near Goulburn, NSW

Phil Ronalds - Outback Forage Oats

Outback Forage oats has proved an excellent clean-up crop and a feed source through the winter for beef farmer Phil Ronalds. Mr Ronalds said it was the first time he had used oats for that purpose and was very pleased with the result. “You can’t get grass to grow like oats through the winter,” he said. “It gives you a crop you can fatten bullocks off.” Mr Ronalds said it exhibited extremely vigorous growth and was able to be grazed just six weeks after planting. “The leaves on the oats were 25mm wide,” he said. “It was just unbelievable. If you want tucker during the middle of winter it’s just fantastic. I couldn’t be happier with the Outbacks.

Phil Ronalds, Jindivick, Victoria

Dean Mitchell - Outback Forage Oats

Outback Forage oats proved a good option in the dry 2008 season. Mr Mitchell said he needed some forage options to fill a couple of holes in his feed program so planted one paddock of Outback forage oats  . Mr Mitchell said the paddock averaged 9.6 tonnes per hectare. There was very little rain received through the growing season and the oats did particularly well under the conditions.. Forage oat varieties, such as Outback, have been bred with wider leaves and delayed heading, so stock can graze through the winter period and then the paddock could be locked up for silage or hay production.

Dean Mitchell, Lockington, Victoria

Ron Hann - Outback Forage Oats

Mr Hann planted Outback forage oats, it was pre-watered and then was able to be grazed three times over the winter period with agistment dairy cows and some beef cattle. Mr Hann then locked the area up for silage and produced a mountain of forage from the crop. The Outback oats yielded just below 44 rolls of silage per hectare with each roll estimated at 650 kilograms in weight. “There were massive windrows. The bales were basically sitting on top of each other.” After the silage was taken from the area the oats produced a further three grazings into the late spring and summer period. “It is tough stuff,” Mr Hann said. “It only received one water.”

Ron Hann, Lockington, Victoria

Trent AdamsTrent Adams - Outback Forage Oats

Outback Oats ideal for early grazing at Chatswood House. Trent Adams, of the Chatswood House property at Chatswood in the Western Districts of Victoria, had excellent success with Outback oats. Outback forage oats planted straight and also with a range of pasture species provided an excellent early winter option for Trent Adams, on the Chatswood House property at Chatswood in the Western Districts of Victoria. Mr Adams said they planted the Outback forage oats to approximately 200 hectares at the end of April with 45 hectares as a straight crop and the remaining area into lucerne and other pastures.

He said the oats provided good feed in the six to eight weeks after planting with the 45 hectare paddock of straight oats grazed three times during the season. The paddock was sown at a rate of 60 kilograms per hectare and provided feed for 350 ewes and their lambs during the season. It was also locked up after the third grazing and carried through for a grain crop. The excellent growth meant silage and hay were also options late in the season. Mr Adams said once the sheep had lambed down they went straight onto the paddock for a two week period before being rotated to another Outback oats-based area. “We tried to keep their diet the same,” he said.

The Outback oats-based diet proved an excellent option with many of the lambs weighing between 21 and 22 kilograms within 12 weeks. “By 14 weeks we had 80 percent of the lambs sold,” Mr Adams said. An excellent lambing rate of 120 percent took advantage of the good forage available during the season. The lambing program was intense with three distinct intervals between March and August, with the Outback oats forming the basis of the diet. As well as the straight oat paddock the property also contained Outback oats that were planted in a blend with a range of species including tonic plantain, lucerne, arrowleaf clover and ryegrass.

A reduced planting rate of 50 kilograms per hectare for the Outback oats was used within the various blends. Mr Adams said the oats was an excellent option to use within the pasture mix because of its early growth and the way the sheep adapted to the feed. He said the sheep grazed the oats evenly and allowed the other pasture species to get their roots established. “By the time the oats were finished we were left with the new pastures,” he said. The permanent pastures will provide valuable feed during the autumn and winter through 2010 and beyond.

Trent Adams, of the Chatswood House property at Chatswood in the Western Districts of Victoria

Jordan Zerk - Outback Forage Oats

Outback oats proved a great success on the property of Jordan Zerk at Lyndoch in the Barossa Valley of South Australia this season. Mr Zerk sowed 25 acres of Outback oats back in early May which produced four good grazings throughout the season. Sixty breeders and calves grazed the Outback oats from August and again every three weeks for the remainder of the season. The area of Outback oats were planted side-by-side with a crop of Winteroo and Mr Zerk said there was quite a difference between the two varieties. “The Outbacks had a lot bigger leaf and it took a long time for the heads to come out,” he said. “The cows actually pushed through an electric fence from the Winteroos to get to the Outback oats.”

Outback oats are delayed heading so were able to provide more feed over longer under the good seasonal conditions of the year. Mr Zerk said while the other oat variety finished relatively early in the spring the Outbacks remained green and even took advantage of rainfall in November to produce even more feed. After four grazing the Outback oats came back again and were more than 30cm in height going into the hotter months. The crop was sown at a rate of 50 kilograms per hectare with some DAP for nutrition. It also received a boost with a dose of ProGibb after the second grazing which assisted the crop development. “The Outbacks came up really thick and just wouldn’t stop growing,” Mr Zerk said. He said success of the crop started with good preparation with the soil worked to get rid of the weeds.

Jordan Zerk, Lyndock, Barossa Valley SA

Wayne CunninghamWayne Cunningham - Outback Forage Oats

A late planted crop of Outback oats provided three grazings and a cut of silage on the dairy of Wayne Cunningham of Swan Reach, in the east Gippsland region of Victoria. Mr Cunningham, who milks around 150 cows at the organic dairy, trialled the oats in a 4 acre paddock to see how they would perform on the property. He said there was some initial rain in February but nothing of substance until June, so the oats were planted at a rate of 60 kilogram per hectare later in the month. “Ideally I would have planted it in February but the season was a bit spasmodic so I was a bit nervous. When the oats were eventually put in they established well in some very cool conditions and produced the first grazing early in the spring. Mr Cunningham said approximately 100 cows were allowed to strip graze the paddock and moved over the area in three to four days.

The paddock was then locked up and responded quickly before being grazed a further two times over the spring. Cows were introduced after calving with the final area of Outback oats being grazed by 130 cows late in the season. The oats were allowed to reach a height of approximately one foot before being grazed to produce a product of good quality. A total mixed ration system is operated on the dairy with grazing and silage options from a range of different crop types. Mr Cunningham said the oat paddock will be direct-drilled with sorghum for feed into summer. He said the silage from the oats would be utilised in the winter time by the dry cows and heifers. The success of the Outback oats this season has meant it will be utilised more in the coming years as a grazing and silage option. It can be planted from February through until June and provide valuable supplementary feed in conjunction with the total mixed ration on the farm.

Wayne Cunningham, Swan Reach VIC

Terry HeywoodTerry Heywood - Outback Forage Oats

OUTBACK OATS SUCCESS IN DRIER SEASON

Outback oats have been a success on the property of Terry Heywood, at Waubra, north-west of Ballarat in Victoria, despite a season with little in-crop rainfall. The crop was sown in the middle of June at a rate of 50 kilograms per hectare and produced three good grazings through late winter and autumn. “It went in fairly rough with the seed put out with the super spreader and then harrowed in,” Mr Heywood said. The eight hectare paddock was grazed by 200 sheep for a week as soon as the oats were long enough to withstand damage.

It was then grazed by the sheep a second time with the amount of growth from the cereal impressing. “When the oats started to take off the sheep couldn’t keep up with it,” Mr Heywood said. The paddock received a third grazing from a mob of cattle that pushed their way through a fence to get at the feed. “We couldn’t keep the cattle off it,” Mr Heywood said. “They were just helping themselves. They really enjoyed it.” He said the oats stooled out after the first grazing to produce a bulk of feed. “The stock took to the feed, gained weight and looked very good.” Both the sheep and cattle were sold and produced excellent returns. Mr Heywood said it was a tremendous result, particularly considering the in-crop rainfall which was much lower than what could be expected in the area. “There was good sowing moisture after the summer rain but we did have a dry July and also a dry September and October.”

Terry Heywood, Ballarat VIC

Ashley LushAshley Lush - Outback Forage Oats

OUTBACK OATS PERFORM IN VARIED SEASONS AT GUNNEDAH

Outback forage oats have showed their potential under very different seasonal conditions on the property of Ashley Lush, at Gunnedah, in northern New South Wales. Mr Lush said he first planted Outback oats in 2010 in an excellent season. “It did really well in a really good year,” Mr Lush said. “It was good for grazing with big broad leaves. We grazed it right through as the moisture held.” In contrast, the 2011 season was completely different with very little rainfall recorded in the growing season. The Outback oats were planted in June with one area sown into the oats crops from the previous year and the other area double-cropped into a freshly harvested sunflower paddock. “There were two to three months where there was not a lot of rainfall at all,” he said.

Some areas were grazed, although the majority of cattle had been sent off to Queensland for agistment because of the very dry conditions. “By all rights we should have grazed it and then got rid of it,” Mr Lush said. He said the Outback oats performed well by hanging in there and then taking advantage of the rainfall which fell at the end of September and in the months that followed. The crop was still green going into December and was even able to utilise a substantial rainfall event which took place in late November. Mr Lush said the Outback oats had been grown on the property in two years that were at opposite ends of the spectrum. He said the oats performed as expected under the excellent conditions of 2010, and they also showed good stress tolerance and an ability to hang in there during the tough season of 2011. “We’ve had both extremes in two years.”

Ashley Lush, Gunnedah NSW

Ken BauerKen Bauer - Outback Forage Oats

OUTBACK OATS IDEAL FOR CHAFF MARKET AT BILOELA

Outback oats have showed good potential as a chaff option for Ken and Phil Bauer of Biloela in central Queensland. Ken Bauer said they grew hay for chaff, which was made on the property and aimed at the premium horse market. Last season some 47 acres of Outback oats were sown in mid-April and performed well by producing 545 large round bales from the area. Mr Bauer said the yield was equivalent to a bit over 3 tonnes per acre with the oats performing well under the dryland situation. He said they had 30 frosts over the winter and the Outback oats continued to grow well through the cooler conditions. “It didn’t look back – at cutting it was five feet tall,” he said. The Outback had a good establishment, stood well and was very erect, making it an ideal option for making chaff. “We were very happy with the chaff from it,” Mr Bauer said. The Outback oats were grown out to when they were first starting to throw their heads out and cut shortly afterwards. Mr Bauer said a neighbour planted Outback oats later in the season and it also performed well as a hay option.

Ken Bauer, Biloela, Queensland

Huon SmithHuon & Colleen Smith - Outback Forage Oats

BOONARA PERFORMANCE HORSES UTILISING FORAGE CEREALS

An innovative mix of Moby barley and Outback oats has produced long-term grazing on the property of Huon & Colleen Smith, who run ‘Boonara Performance Horses’ at Goomeri in the Burnett region of Queensland. Mr Smith said the mix of the two different crops in a 50 / 50 blend had worked well on the property to feed their horses. “They eat the barley and then eat the oats,” he said. Moby barley is very quick out of the ground so provided the first available feed after being sown in the autumn of 2011. The barley provided excellent grazing options at a time when the feed was most needed. Mr Smith said brood mares preferentially grazed the Moby early in the season, but switched to the oats as they matured towards spring. In another paddock Moby was planted as a standalone variety and was initially destined to be cut for round bale silage. Instead it was left and cut for hay and produced forage of good quality which was was taken up well by the horses.

Huon & Colleen Smith, Goomeri QLD
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