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Zulu 2 Forage Sorghum
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Craig SteersCraig Steers - Zulu 2 Forage Sorghum

Zulu 2 forage sorghum proved an excellent option for grazing and hay on the property of Craig Steers at Invergordon, in the Goulburn Valley of Victoria last season. Mr Steers said he planted a 2 hectare trial plot of Zulu 2 in November and was very impressed with the results.“We sowed it dry and had a heap of rain on it,” he said.

The Zulu 2 was grown alongside some other grazing options and impressed with its quick early growth and palatability. “I thought it was quite good,” Mr Steers said. “It was growing as quick as the BMRs.” “It didn’t have the real thick stalks. The cows chewed it right down.” Mr Steers said the two hectare paddock would generally provide about six days worth of good grazing. The paddock was divided with an electric fence and the herd of 200 dairy cows grazed the Zulu 2 for half a day before being provided silage in an adjacent paddock. If the cows had not completely grazed the area Mr Steers said he would put young stock in the area overnight to finish the job.

After six days of feed, the paddock received an application of 50 kilograms per hectare of urea and irrigation if there was no rainfall. The paddock did go six weeks without watering at one stage and showed excellent stress tolerance under the summer conditions. Mr Steers said it responded very well after grazing and they were able to graze the paddock three times over the season. “Towards the end it got away from us and I ended up cutting it for hay,” he said. “It really surprised me. I will certainly be growing that again.” The hay at the end of the season provided an opportunity to clean up the paddock, which was then rotated through into lucerne. Mr Steers said Zulu 2 provided a lot of bulk with the milkers doing particularly well on the forage. It also provided a range of options with the feed used for both grazing and hay production last season. Zulu 2 could also be used for silage production later in the season.

Craig Steers, Invergordon, Goulburn Valley, Victoria

Matt NapolitaqnoMatt Napolitano - Zulu 2 Forage Sorghum

A crop of forage sorghum provided an excellent feed option for Tatura dairy farmer, Matt Napolitano, last season. Mr Napolitano was looking for an alternative to buying hay over the summer and planted the Seed Distributors Zulu 2 forage sorghum in November. It was the first time we had put Zulu 2 in and it came up so quickly.

The crop received one watering and some follow-up rain before being ensiled in mid-January. It grew to about five to six feet in height and we took 65 dry tonnes off the 27 acres (11 hectares). The crop was cut with the mower conditioner and left for two to three days before being ensiled in a pit. This variety was exceptional. The sorghum got up and choked everything else out. The crop continued to be grazed with the paddock separated with an electric fence and the cows were allowed to strip graze it well into autumn. It’s what saved our herd size. Last year we relied on buying feed in. This year we managed to get them some green feed. With the price of hay, it was a lifesaver as far as saving costs. During the previous season we bought in a lot of hay to feed the cattle but did not have to rely on this more costly option with the addition of forage sorghum to the program. Good summer conditions, with some occasional rainfall events, also meant the crop could be grown with a minimal of water. A 20 acre (8 hectare) paddock needed just 5 megalitres of water over the growing season and still provided good tonnages of silage and grazing. I would highly recommend forage sorghum to farmers who haven’t got a lot of water to spare. It was an ideal option during the drought conditions when the cost of buying in forage became very expensive. The forage sorghum also contributed to good protein (3.3 to 3.4%) and butter fat (4.3%) scores from the milk produced.

During the autumn some paddocks on the farm were planted to a rye and shaftel mix with the forage sorghum used as the feed option through until the pasture mix was ready to be grazed. We would steer away from perennial pasture options in favour of using high yielding annuals and coming back into sorghum.

Matt Napolitano, Tatura

Nigel & Daniel GreenawayNigel and Daniel Greenaway - Zulu 2 Forage Sorghum

Opportunity rainfall led to the planting of 160 hectares of Zulu 2 forage sorghum on the property of Nigel and Daniel Greenaway, of “Bernarro”, at St Arnaud, in central Victoria last season. Nigel Greenaway said they normally relied on crop stubble, lucerne and grain to feed the sheep over the summer months, but put in the Zulu 2 forage sorghum after four inches of rain. The Zulu 2 forage sorghum was planted in late November and produced an abundance of feed throughout the summer.“We didn’t have enough sheep to graze it.” Mr Greenaway said. “It got away from us. We left the sheep in  here and lambed down the ewes on it. Normally we would run out of feed in February but we were able to feed them right through.”

Nigel and Daniel Greenaway, St Arnaud, Vic
Rebound Forage Millet
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Jamie and Peter SippelExcellent production from opportunity Rebound crop - Rebound Forage Millet

A crop of Rebound forage millet which was planted primarily as a green manure option, produced excellent yields of high quality hay on the property of Jamie and Peter Sippel, at Mt Taramba, in Queensland’s Lockyer Valley. James Sippel said the farm was split between vegetable and forage production and last season they had an eight acre paddock coming out of wombok cabbages.

Rebound forage millet was planted to the area for green manure with the intention of ploughing it into the ground, however the performance of the crop meant it could be better utilised. “It just bounded out of the ground,” Mr Sippel said. The establishment of the crop was so quick that in four to five weeks it was ready to cut and they harvested 350 small bales off the area shortly afterwards.

“It was soft and sweet smelling,” Mr Sippel said. “We’ve been chaffing it and it has been running out the door.” He said the regrowth was also very good and within a few weeks it could have been mowed again, however a decision was made to plough it in and ready the paddock for another Wombok crop. Mr Sippel said the millet left the ground nice and fluffy which benefited the next crop. He said the crop was initially sown in late October and didn’t receive any fertiliser and irrigation. “We had a bit of rain and that kept it going. I was really happy with it.”

Jamie and Peter Sippel, of Mt Taramba, Queensland

Leigh RobertsLeigh Roberts - Rebound Forage Millet

A Rebound millet summer crop provided back-up silage to traditional pasture on the property of Leigh Roberts, at Binginwarri, in the Gippsland region of Victoria. Mr Roberts said he planted Rebound millet for silage in November when he knew how much forage had been made from annual ryegrasses. By the end of January the dryland crop was waist high, and received good rainfall and continued to grow until it was harvested for silage at the beginning of March. Mr Roberts  said he harvested 155 bales of 4.5 by 5 foot silage bales off the area at a rate of more than 27 bales per hectare. He said  the crop was excellent with stems that were about the thickness of a pencil and not too stalky. This proved to be a great alternative to letting the paddock lay fallow over the summer. A quality test conducted on the Rebound millet silage also impressed with a protein of 14.9 percent and a metabolisable energy of 9 percent.

Leigh Roberts, Binginwarri, Vic

Mick KerrinsDairy enterprise has continued success - Rebound Forage Millet

Rebound millet has provided an excellent grazing option for dairy farmer Mick Kerrins, at Tatura, in northern Victoria. Mr Kerrins has used Rebound millet for the past three years and last season achieved four to five good grazings from the summer forage. “I like the way it gets up and out of the ground,” he said. “It also responds very well after grazing.” The Rebound was planted in mid-October in an area that had contained an oats pea mix over winter which was then taken for silage. After the previous crop was ensiled, the paddock was sprayed out and the millet direct-drilled into the stubble at a rate of 25 kilograms per hectare.

Mr Kerrins said the crop received 50 kilograms per hectare of DAP at planting and only needed two waterings in a year of very wet conditions. “We normally water every 10 days but didn’t need to this year.” Rebound is planted to between 10 and 15 hectares on the property each season and the cows are sent out to graze the paddocks after they are milked. “They get the millet once a day,” Mr Kerrins said. “We tend to let them graze early in the mornings when the days are a bit hotter. They can be in the paddock by 7.30am and get three hours of good grazing by the time the temperature gets too hot.” The millet is strip grazed with 150 cows covering half a hectare of millet over the session before they are moved into an adjacent area the following day. “They milk very well on it,” Mr Kerrins said. “I think it’s critical with millet to not let it get rank.

We need to keep it short and allow it to stool out. “The first grazing is not harsh but at its peak the cows eat it hard. We get a lot of good bulk out of millet.” Mr Kerrins said they were grazing it every 18 days and typically had four to five opportunities at the millet over the summer season. This allows grazing into late February and early March before the paddock can be turned over to another crop during the autumn and winter period. Forage sorghum is also grown on the property and works well in conjunction with the Rebound as a summer forage option. “Millet is a safer option than sorghum and is out of the ground a bit quicker,” Mr Kerrins said. “I think it is 10 days ahead of sorghum.”

Mick Kerrins, Tatura Vic

Sean Curran - Rebound Forage Millet

Rebound Millet has proved the ideal summer crop option on the property of dairy farmer Sean Curran, at Wonthaggi, in the Gippsland region of Victoria. Mr Curran first trialled millet in the 2007 season as a standalone forage for finishing stock and said the cattle sent to market were some of the best the agent had seen that summer. “Millet is a good cheap option and I can guarantee feed for our young stock,” Mr Curran said. The variety used on the property was Rebound millet which proved a high-yielding and high quality grazing option.

A feed test taken directly out of the paddock at the end of January, 2008 returned a Metabolizable Energy (ME) percentage of 10.8 percent. Crude protein was at 15.2 percent making it a good quality option when grazed or baled at the right time. Mr Curran said millet complemented the traditional brassica crops grown through the summer as it provided a fibre option for the cows. This season the Rebound millet was sown to a greater area and through a few different planting windows. “We started sowing in mid-November and went right through until the end of December,” Mr Curran said. The millet was sown at 15 kilograms per hectare with half a kilogram per hectare of white turnip and half a kilogram to the hectare of white clover. The mix of brassicas, millet and clover provides good fibre, energy and protein for the cows over summer for good conditioning and weight gain. Initial grazings were eight weeks after sowing and the crop also has the potential for hay or silage if there is too much forage produced.

Sean Curran, Wonthaggi, Victoria
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