Product Used: Outback Forage Oats
The success of Outback oats over the past two seasons mean it will be the major source of forage grown on the property of Andrew Thompson, at Balliang, in the Western Districts of Victoria. Mr Thompson said they wanted to try the oats in 2011 and travelled down to Gippsland specifically to get the seed prior to sowing. He said that decision paid off with excellent feed from the Outback oats in its initial season on the property. The oats were planted again in 2012 with the crop sown at the start of April into a number of smaller scale paddocks designed for grazing. Most of the paddocks were about 2.5 hectares in size which made them ideal as quick grazing options through winter and spring. Mr Thompson said the season was quite dry early on and he was surprised at how well the oats stood up during those conditions. “They stayed and hung there and hung there and then we had a rain and away they went.” He said he had expected them to go to head without rain, but they hung on well.
Once conditions improved, the Outback oats provided a bulk of feed and were grazed regularly by Dexter cattle. “They have a big leaf and a lot of bulk,” Mr Thompson said. “We hard-grazed the paddock and probably go a bit overboard. We definitely punish them.” The cattle grazed a section for two to three days and were then transitioned to another paddock. Over the winter and spring the cattle rotated through the oats, which continued to respond after each grazing and produced a bulk of feed throughout the time. In the middle of October an irrigator was used to water a spring sown oat crop allowing it to grow vigorously with the additional moisture. “Three to four days later you could see where the irrigator went through,” Mr Thompson said. The oats provided options for both grazing and hay during the summer period. Mr Thompson said he preferred oats over pasture because it was able to be grazed very quickly and it provided a bulk of feed over the winter period. He said the oats had been direct-drilled into the previous year’s pasture paddock and received 110 kilograms per hectare of straight super early on and additional nutrition just prior to a rainfall event in June. Dexter cattle are used on the property because of their temperament and Mr Thompson also runs South African Dorper sheep for meat production. The success of Outback oats means it will be the only oats variety grown on the property again next season.