Product Used: Moby Forage Barley
Moby barley has been an excellent hay producer under organic conditions on the “Shamrockvale” property of Ross and Adele Kiernan, at Beaudesert, in southern Queensland. Adele Kiernan said they planted 200 acres of crops last season which was shared between forage barley and forage oats. The crops were planted relatively late in the year in June, but still grew well and were able to be cut for hay in late spring. Mrs Kiernan said it was the second year they had grown Moby and swapped to it from another forage oat because of its bulk. “The other barley had no body to it,” she said. Last year Moby was made into 8x3x3 large 300 kilogram square bales and yielded 3 tonnes per acre on the later plant. The previous year Moby produced an average yield of 4.2 tonnes per acre. Some of the barley hay was used on farm to feed horses, while the rest was sold to a variety of end users that included organic dairies from New South Wales and some local people. Mrs Kiernan said the hay quality from the barley was exceptional with one customer describing it as A-Class. She said there was a need to educate people on just how good barley hay could be as a feed option. “One guy tried the barley on his growing steers and it went really well,” she said.
It also produces very good chaff.” The plan next season is to get the barley in much earlier and produce one major cut from the area and then a second cut after it grew again. Even after the late cut in 2012 the Moby regrew strongly and provided enough confidence that it would provide an excellent chance for the second harvest. Mrs Kiernan said barley was grown in conjunction with oats and was a good option as a companion crop. “The oats gave more yield but were more likely to get rust,” she said. “The barley was really healthy and it seems to handle the heat a bit better.” Moby was cut for hay just as it started to flower but before it had reached the milky doe stage “It was beautiful to cut,” Mrs Kiernan said. “It stood up really well” Organic hay has been produced on the property for a number of seasons with green manure crops utilised to provide nutrition and improve the soil structure.
Adele Kiernan pictured with Simon Odling, of Beaudesert, QLD