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More fodder beet trading likely
She's a beauty: DLF Seeds product manager Gurli Klitgaard, from Denmark, checks out a crop of fodder beet at Wyndham with DLF Seeds
Southern South Island sales manager Garth Cleland and DLF Seeds forage technical manager Gavin Milne.
Top view: Spar Bush contractor Ben Walling operates a
fodder beet harvester. The lifting and trading of fodder
beet is expected to become more popular.
By DIANE BISHOP
High-energy food source valuable during winter
It's (fodder beet) more
expensive to plant but its the
cheapest way of producing feed
for energy utilised.
The lifting and trading of fodder beet
among farmers is expected to grow in
While fodder beet was traditionally
grazed by dairy cows over the winter,
DLF Seeds technical forage manager
Gavin Milne believed more farmers
would grow the lifting varieties which
they could then harvest and sell to other
farmers for a reasonable profit.
''We will see an increase in sheep
farmers growing the crop and selling it to
dairy farmers,'' he said.
Milne also said there would be an
increase in the short-term storage of
fodder beet and it would be used more as
a lactational grazing tool to help fill a
feed deficit in the spring.
Fodder beet -- which was part of the
beetroot and silverbeet families -- was a
high energy feed source that would put
weight on animals over the winter.
It was more costly to grow than
brassicas, such as swedes and kale and
required better management during the
establishment phase, but it was a
cheaper source of high energy feed,
''Farmers dismiss fodder beet because of
''It's more expensive to plant but its the
cheapest way of producing feed for
Studies had shown that it cost an
estimated 0.73 cents to consume a mega
joule of energy compared with kale at
around 1 cent.
However, Milne said farmers should
choose fodder beet cultivars carefully
because some were good for grazing
while others were better for lifting.
''There's a type to suit most farmers but
you need to find the variety that's best for
you,'' he told farmers at a DLF Seeds
seminar in Winton last week.
Milne said there were two seed types --
multi-germ and the more commonly used
mono-germ which had better strike rates.
DLF Seeds is based in Denmark where it
has one of the largest fodder beet
breeding programmes in the world.
Product manager Gurli Klitgaard said
they were continually breeding cultivars
for yield, disease resistance, low dirt
tare, uniform height, bolting resistance
and seed quality. It took about 12 years to
get a new variety onto the market.
DLF Southern South Island sales
manager Garth Cleland said in a good
season farmers could expect yields
greater than 22 tonnes per hectare but
this could drop to 16 tonnes in a poorer
He stressed the importance of weighing
crops to ensure stock were not overfed or
under fed and particularly if the crop was
going to be sold. ''Don't guess the weight
of the crop.You need to get both the buyer
and the seller in the paddock and do it
properly,'' he said.
Cleland said he knew of a farmer who
lost 1930kg of dry matter per hectare and
a significant amount of income because
of incorrect weighing.
He also suggested getting the crops dry
Kligaard said 95 per cent of growing
fodder beet was getting the management
right and this included good soil
preparation and a sowing rate of 80,000 to
85,000 plants per hectare.
Seed should be placed in a 2.5cm furrow
and covered with half a centimetre of
Four years between crops would reduce
the build up of disease although if second
cropping she suggested going from
fodder beet to brassicas.
--- and the stock will eat it all
By DIANE BISHOP
YIELDS may vary between fodder beet
cultivars but there is no difference in
That's according to the 2013 Fodder
Beet Trials which were conducted by
DLF Seeds in Southland, South Otago,
North Otago and Mid Canterbury.
The trials showed that overall yields
varied from an average19.4 tonnes of
dry matter per hectare for the Enermax
variety compared with 14 tonnes of dry
matter per hectare for Brigadeer.
Kyros, the most popular variety grown
in the southern South Island, produced
an average yield of 17.4 tonnes per
DLF Seeds forage technical manager
Gavin Milne released the results to
farmers at a DLF Seeds seminar in
Winton recently. ''There are a lot of
ideas and theories about growing
fodder beet but no decent facts.
''This was about sorting out assump-
tions and testing ideas,'' Milne said.
The trials also showed a strong
correlation between dry matter of the
bulb cultivars and relative yield -- the
higher the dry matter percentage the
higher the yield.
Palatability was also tested but grazing
by sheep showed no preference
between the seven different cultivars.
However, there were slight differences
in the amount of bulb out of the ground
with 50 per cent for Brigadeer down to
44 per cent for Enermax, Magnum and
On average, 79 percent of seeds
developed into seedlings with a range of
69 to 88 per cent between cultivars.
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