Product Used: Outback Forage Oats
Outback oats drilled directly into an existing lucerne stand provided silage and multiple hay cuts for dairy farmer and hay maker, Jason Black at Nanango, in the South Burnett region of Queensland. Mr Black said the lucerne stand was three years old and still producing well, but the addition of oats allowed them to produce a bulk of forage through the spring and early summer. Outback oats were direct-drilled into the lucerne at a rate of 30 kilograms per hectare, which was down on the 40 kilograms per hectare the cereal was sown as a straight crop option on the property. The lighter rate established well after being sown in April and was taken for silage in September with the forage stored straight into a bunker. Mr Black said there was a lot of silage harvested from the paddock and the Outbacks regrew quickly after the initial cut. He said within three weeks, the 30 acre area was ready to cut again and produced close to 600 small square bales off the paddock. A similar time elapsed and the oats and lucerne mix was ready to cut again. This time the area was harvested as large round bales and produced 130 when taken in late November. The lucerne component of the mix was starting to hit its straps coming into summer and was starting to take over from the oats.
Mr Black said the oats produced a bulk of tonnage by being added to the lucerne stand and suited the timing of the other crop. He said oat varieties used in that situation needed to be quick out of the ground and to an initial graze if needed. It also had to have excellent regrowth and the ability to produce high yields without sacrificing quality. Outback oats filled all of those criteria and enabled him to utilise the high quality forage on-farm or to local markets where premium hay was in demand. Irrigation water was used to establish the oats and also between cuts. The area was also provided with adequate fertiliser to ensure the crop was not looking for nutrition. Outback oats were also direct-drilled into some Rhodes grass and kikuyu pasture and, despite not getting the attention of the other paddock, still produced excellent cattle feed last season. Lucerne on the property includes the Q75 variety and is targeted at feedlot markets, horse markets and in-house on the dairy.
Jason Black, of Nanango, QLD