Product Used: Moby Forage Barley
The ability to graze forage barley and then lock it up for hay has assisted in producing better quality forage on the property of David Barker, at Virginia, north of Adelaide in South Australia. Mr Barker said he had been growing Moby barley for a number of seasons and found it responded well to being grazed by cattle prior earlier in the season. During the 2011 season the Moby was down in mid-May and was able to be fed off to Murray Grey cattle during July. The timing of the graze was ideal as there was not a lot of other forage available and the alternative was to feed out grain and hay at that time of year. Mr Barker said the cattle grazed the area when the barley was around knee high. “They didn’t hammer it down to the ground, but they still grazed it quite heavily. It was given a good trim.
He said the barley tillered out well after the grazing and came back quickly in the good seasonal conditions of the year. “When it stools out it tends to smother the weeds out as well,” he said. The barley was planted using a Chamberlain combine at a rate of 80 kilograms per hectare and established well. Mr Barker said the larger number of tillers from the grazed area equated to better quality hay where the stalks were not as thick. The hay was harvested in spring, with the crop reaching a height just above the knee when cut. Hay was utilised on-farm or sold to local enterprises. During the 2011 season, an 8 acre area of Moby barley produced more than 90 1.5 metre round bales in a very good result. The following year was a lot drier so the Moby was able to be grazed early but ordinary conditions in spring prevented it from being cut for hay. Mr Barker said barley was primarily used as a break crop to control nematodes and other pest and disease issues and, during 2011, followed a pea crop. No nitrogen was added to the area because of the rotation from the legume, with Moby barley benefiting from the previous crop.
David Barker, of Virginia in South Australia