Home' Otago Southland Farmer : June 28th 2013 Contents 12
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FARM, BUSINESS, DOMESTIC
m: 027 6485513 p: 0508 OFS OFS
FARM EFFLUENT CLEANING
Covering the Clutha District
Phone Devon 021 224 7990 or 03 418 2896
Two muck spreaders
Pond stirrer, tip truck & digger available
P.O. Box 44, Balclutha
Ph (03) 419 0025
Fax (03) 418 1363
to 20 James Street
Testing and vigilance vital to maintain soil
Beet effective and inexpensive
Fodder beet is a cheap way of producing high energy feed for grazing, says DLF Seeds
Southern South Island sales manager Garth Cleland.
Mr Cleland said at the Blackmore's Seaward Downs property it worked out at 0.56 cents per
megajoule of energy.
Good beet crops cost about $2000 a hectare to grow, but this was offset by the high yields
and feed quality being achieved, hence the low cost of energy produced, he said.
Mr Cleland said farmers growing fodder beet should use monogerm seed with a good Purity
and Germination (P&G) certificate.
Last year's P&G certificate on Kyros fodder beet was 94 per cent germination, but given that a
12 per cent field emergence loss could be expected, he recommended a sowing rate of 94,000
seeds per hectare.
Mr Cleland said fodder beet was an ideal first crop in a rotation and compliments following
brassica crops because beet does not harbour brassica root diseases.
Check it out: PGG Wrightson technical soil specialist Milton Munro, left, checks a crop of fodder beet with Hamish
Blackmore and PGG Wrightson agronomist Matthew Crampton at Seaward Downs.
Great food source: Dairy cows grazing
fodder beet on Hamish Blackmore's
Seaward Downs property.
Don't leave winter crop establish-
ment to the last minute, a leading
soil scientist says.
PGG Wrightson technical soil
specialist Milton Munro said
farmers should start planning
next year's winter crops now
because soil testing needed to
start 6 to 12 months out.
''Soil testing is really important,''
Mr Munro said.
''If you soil test 6 to 12 months out
it gives you time before the crop
goes in to fix things.''
Mr Munro said fertiliser was the
cornerstone of a successful crop-
ping programme and getting it
wrong would have a major affect
on crop yield.
''It's no good looking at it
(fertiliser) a week before sowing
and then going 'shit we're in
trouble'. It's too late to fix it then,''
he told farmers and technical field
representatives at a wintering
field day at Seaward Downs last
Attendees also had the oppor-
tunity to view swede and fodder
beet crops on Hamish Black-
more's high performing dairy
Mr Munro said fertiliser require-
ments for fodder beet, which was
from the same family as beetroot,
was different to brassicas such as
kale, swedes or turnips because
they were ''very different beasts''.
Fodder beet had a high require-
ment for potassium and sodium
while nitrogen and phosphate
were important for brassicas, he
Fodder beet also had a higher pH
requirement of 6.2 to 6.5 while for
brassicas the ideal was 5.5 to 6.
Mr Munro said it was a good idea
to apply phosphate with swede or
kale seed at the time of sowing if
direct drilling because brassicas
were lazy foragers.
On the other hand, fodder beet
had a huge taproot and was an
agressive forager and actively
sought out fertiliser and water.
Nitrogen was also crucial for
brassica establishment and grow-
ing the ''green parts of the plant''
and creating more bulky leaf.
Good weed control was also
important and failing to get it
right could reduce crop yields by
20 to 60 per cent.
PGG Wrightson Extension Agron-
omist and Nutritionist Wayne
Nichol said it was important to
build a feed platform to meet the
nutritional requirements of stock.
''Planning is the key.
''You need to work out how much
feed you need to grow because
each crop has its own nutritional
Mr Nichol said swedes were a
first crop brassica only and for the
best results he suggested growing
disease-tolerant cultivars such as
HT swede or Aparima Gold.
He suggested having a five-year
gap between brassica crops to
avoid the spread of diseases such
Mr Nichol said kale could be a
first or second year crop and the
best varieties to grow were
kestral for sheep and regal for
To achieve a high yielding fodder
beet crop it should be grown early
and the correct herbicides should
be used, he said.
PGG Wrightson South Island
Agronomist Matthew Crampton
said it cost about $1000 to $1200
per hectare to grow a brassica
crop, which meant farmers
should aim to maximise crop
''The higher the yield, the more
profit you will make.
''But if you settle for mediocore
crop yields you will make
minimum profit,'' he said.
Mr Crampton said farmers should
have a three to five year paddock
plan and carefully select their
winter crop paddocks.
The ones to consider were those
with poor pastures and old
grasses that were not performing,
were pugged or had a weed
However, weeds were prolific
seeders and if going into fodder
beet the weed burden would have
to be reduced, Mr Campton said.
''I suggest you nut it out with your
seed rep and come up with a
plan,'' he said.
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