Mix it up this spring to boost fodder reserves

Seed mixes can offer a range of benefits to graziers looking to diversify their home-grown feed supplies.

Shaun Mahony, Area Sales Manager for Stephen Pasture Seeds in central and southern Victoria, has two top picks for this spring, SPS Forage Blend Plus and SPS Silage Blend.

SPS Forage Blend Plus is a summer crop mix that is spring sown, providing feed over summer which can also fill the autumn feed gap. SPS Silage Blend is a superior blend for growing large quantities of high-quality silage in a short amount of time.

SPS Forage Blend Plus delivers triple the benefits of a straight fodder crop.

“As a mix of three crop types – rape, chicory and plantain – SPS Forage Blend Plus generates good early summer feed and sets up a strong base of quality herbs for over-sowing with an Italian or annual ryegrass in autumn,” said Shaun.

It’s a good mix of high-quality feed for cattle and sheep, with high protein levels from the rape, plus trace minerals from the herbs.

This blend will grow a solid amount of feed, like a pure rape stand, and can be grazed within 10-12 weeks, once the purplish red tinge is seen on the leaf margins of the rape.

But unlike a pure rape stand, producers gain feed diversity from the chicory and plantain and may see other benefits from using the herbs, such as greater tolerance to diamondback moth and white cabbage butterfly.

According to Shaun, SPS Forage Blend Plus is an excellent feed for finishing off lambs or grazing pregnant or lactating ewes. It can also be used to improve the quality of feed offered to beef cattle or dairy herds.

It is suitable for farms with an annual average rainfall of 500 mm or above and can be sown from August through to October at a seed rate of 4 to 6 kg/ha and a depth of 10-20 mm. A nitrogen and phosphorus fertiliser can be used at sowing, such as MAP or DAP at 100 kg/ha.

The perennial chicory and plantain component of the mix persists for two to three years, enabling a diverse pasture stand where grass and clover are drilled into it the following autumn.

SPS Forage Blend Plus is being updated this season to include new high-performance seed varieties such as Mainstar rape.

SPS_Silage_mix_near_Sale_400x400
SPS Silage Blend paddock in Sale, VIC

For dairy farmers and graziers who need to generate high volumes of high-quality silage in a short time, SPS Silage Blend could be the best option this spring.

“It really is the best for giving high yields and bringing the total cost of dry matter produced down, so you’re getting more bang for your buck,” said Shaun.

“It can be planted from July to early October and suits anyone who is looking to renovate pastures after winter pugging, increase fodder reserves, or bring paddocks that might have been missed in the autumn back into production quickly.

That’s the exciting thing about SPS Silage Blend, it’s only in the ground for about four months, but it can produce the same or more feed as a grass that’s been autumn sown and still be of a high quality.”

It performs best in higher rainfall environments or where some irrigation is possible. Later finishing growing regions, such as south west Victoria, Gippsland, Tasmania and the south east of South Australia are ideal. SPS Silage Blend can be followed by a sorghum or brassica crop in late spring or early summer.

Shaun said SPS Silage Blend could be directly grazed by cattle if needed rather then cut.

“It will still provide a high-quality feed with a balance of high energy and superb protein,” he said.

As a large seed size mix, SPS Silage Blend should be sown at 150 to 200 kg/ha and a depth of 25 to 50 mm with MAP or DAP at 100 kg/ha.

For more information about SPS Silage Blend, SPS Forage Blend Plus or any other seed mix to suit your enterprise, contact your local Stephen Pasture Seeds or AusWest Seeds sales representative.

A blend of field peas and forage oats, SPS Silage Blend has exceptional energy levels and protein.

“It can be planted from July to early October and suits anyone who is looking to renovate pastures after winter pugging, increase fodder reserves, or bring paddocks that might have been missed in the autumn back into production quickly.

That’s the exciting thing about SPS Silage Blend, it’s only in the ground for about four months, but it can produce the same or more feed as a grass that’s been autumn sown and still be of a high quality.”

It performs best in higher rainfall environments or where some irrigation is possible. Later finishing growing regions, such as south west Victoria, Gippsland, Tasmania and the south east of South Australia are ideal. SPS Silage Blend can be followed by a sorghum or brassica crop in late spring or early summer.

Shaun said SPS Silage Blend could be directly grazed by cattle if needed rather then cut.

“It will still provide a high-quality feed with a balance of high energy and superb protein,” he said.

As a large seed size mix, SPS Silage Blend should be sown at 150 to 200 kg/ha and a depth of 25 to 50 mm with MAP or DAP at 100 kg/ha.

For more information about SPS Silage Blend, SPS Forage Blend Plus or any other seed mix to suit your enterprise, contact your local Stephen Pasture Seeds or AusWest Seeds sales representative

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