Thirty kilometres west of Forbes, NSW, Dustin Kemp, manages a farm where Choice chicory and Tonic plantain have been successfully used as part of the farming system. The farm has an average annual rainfall of 500mm which is supplemented with flood irrigation. Herbs have been incorporated into the system to provide high quality feed for lambs and to help fill the green feed gap throughout the year.
In 2017, a straight stand of Tonic plantain was sown on flood irrigation. This paddock has been an important part of the operation, particularly for finishing lambs. The fast degradation rate of Tonic plantain provides a strong advantage as the time it takes for plantain (or chicory) to be digested through the animal is much faster than other forages. Due to Tonic’s quick degradation rate, large amounts of forage can be consumed by the lambs each day. This allows more nutrients to be sourced from their diet, resulting in higher live weight gains each day.
“Lambs yield better off Tonic than straight lucerne and I have been able to send a lot of lambs over the hooks off this paddock” says Dustin.