Summer fodder crops are an extremely valuable out of season feed source. By January/February when feed is limited, farmers will wish they had a summer forage crop in the ground as they produce large volumes of feed and are relatively inexpensive to establish.
They can be used as maintenance feed, as an alternative to feeding out hay and silage, or a highly nutritive mix can be used to finish livestock. In years gone by, a summer crop may have comprised of a forage rape or turnip mixed with some millet to fatten stock in a finishing system. In recent times, with increasing livestock prices, there has been a focus on pushing animal production which has led to diversifying the mixture by way of including summer active forages like chicory, red clover and daikon radishes.
By sowing a summer fodder crop a paddock will be in much better condition for sowing a permanent pasture in the following autumn. By levelling and working the paddock in spring it cuts down the preparation time enormously and in most situations it is simply a matter of direct drilling your permanent pasture.
|Variety||Sowing Rate||Regrowth||Drought Tolerance||Approx Weeks to 1st Grazing||Attributes|
|Winfred||2-5||Very Good||Very High||10-12||Most reliable producer for dryland situation, recovers quickly from grazing, slightly less palatable than newer varieties.|
|Mainstar||2-5||Very Good||High||10 -12||Increased palatability and leaf percentage compared to Winfred. High aphid tolerance.|
|Pillar||2-5||Very Good||High||12 - 14||Fast establishing, high yielding, multi-graze giant-type Forage Rape. Very good re-growth.|
|Titan||2-5||Very Good||High||10 -12||Multi-graze option with excellent regrowth. Dryland or irrigation option.|
|Pacer||3 - 5||Excellent||Medium||6 - 8||Very fast establishing leafy turnip, rapid recovery from grazing, multi graze option.|
|Bouncer||3 - 5||Excellent||Medium||6 - 8||Leafy turnip, multi graze option, fast recovery from grazing.|
|Appin||1 - 2||Good||Medium||6 - 9||Suited to all livestock. Reliable producer, don’t overgraze initially.|
|MPT||0.5 - 2||Poor||Medium||14||Excellent value for money in broad acre situation. Leafy tops and large bulbs, marginal country. One graze option.|
|Marco||1 - 2||Poor||Medium||7 - 10||Very early maturing, 50-70 days from sowing to grazing, high bulb-leaf ratio, very high yielding, one graze.|
|Shirohie||8 - 25||Medium||6 - 8||Reliable safe source of forage, excellent source of roughage, also suits irrigation.|