Feeding to Stock
When it comes to feeding off the crop it is important to introduce stock gradually, Agricom recommends you transition stock over a 21 day period. Transitioning is done by gradually increasing the amount of fodder beet intake while decreasing the amount of supplement forage intake (usually silage or hay). Accurate and regular yield estimates are also highly important for managing animal intake. Crop yield can vary greatly over a paddock so yield estimates for calibrating grazing break size is highly important. It is recommended you seek experienced advice from either your agronomist or your local AusWest or Stephen Pasture Seed territory manager on how to set up a transitioning program. When setting up feed breaks we recommend that you set up long narrow strips, as per the image (right), so that stock aren’t walking over the crop. This also gives individual animals plenty of access without pushing for space. It’s advisable to set up the following days break as a safety buffer in case the stock break out. This will help to prevent gorging and aid in retrieving stock as they can’t travel too much further into the crop.
In summary fodder beet has great potential to produce highly nutritious bulk stand of winter feed. Sown in spring it is grown for approximately 250 days through spring, summer and autumn with final yields capable of reaching 25 plus tonnes of drymatter per hectare. It is highly advised the crop is grown and managed using expert agronomic advice to gain its full potential.
Pembleton, K. Rawnsley, R. November 2011, “Growing Fodder Beets on Tasmanian DairyFarms”. Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture (TIA) http://www.utas.edu.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0006/388113/Growing-fodder-beets-on-Tasmanian-dairy-farms.pdf