Product Used: Subzero Hybrid Forage Brassica
Subzero hybrid forage brassica has been used to address feed gap periods for Ken McLaren, on a property at Gulgong, in the Central Tablelands of New South Wales. Mr McLaren said they traditionally had feed gaps in the winter months and also in the early summer and had turned to Subzero in recent seasons to fill those gaps. In 2014 the forage brassica was sown down in March, at a rate of 3.5 kilograms per hectare, into two paddocks totalling 40 hectares.
During May, 290 weaner lambs, which had been lambed down in October the previous season, were introduced to the area and grazed it for two to three weeks. “It took a day or two for them to get used to it but once they start to eat they really take to it,” Mr McLaren said. “They do quite well on it.” The lambs were taken out of the paddocks before they had the chance to strip it down to the ground which encouraged quick regrowth and allowed the area to be ready for another graze in the lead-up to spring. “If you can nurse it along a bit you can get a fair bit of feed out of it,” Mr McLaren said. “You can get 12 months out of it if you leave a bit of leaf and don’t eat it right down to the ground.” He said the feed didn’t seem to be too affected by the frosts during the year and continued to produce, despite some dry conditions early in the season.
The plan was to get a number of grazings through the spring period and rely on some late spring rain to keep the feed going through until the summer. As well as the autumn planting of Subzero, Mr McLaren is also planning on sowing another paddock of the hybrid brassica in the spring to cover the traditional feed gap period in early summer. He said the autumn plant had been direct-drilled into the paddocks; however he would also consider using a super spreader to spread both the seed and fertiliser in one pass.
Subzero has been a successful addition to the property in recent years and has performed well in a number of varied seasonal conditions. Mr McLaren said the first year it was introduced, the feed was knee high and really produced with good rainfall. In other years the seasons were not as favourable and Subzero continued to perform. Oats and barley were also used on the property this season and made good planting partners in paddocks adjacent to the Subzero.
Ken McLaren, in the Central Tablelands of New South Wales