Product Used: Moby Forage Barley
Moby forage barley has filled a vital feed gap during the cold winter period on the property of Jeff and Cheryl Roads, at Penshurst, east of Hamilton in the Western Districts of Victoria. Mr Roads said the area was traditionally very cold and wet during the months of June, July and August, and he struggled to produce adequate feed for grazing during that period. Moby forage barley was suggested as an option and a 30 acre paddock was planted in early April of 2012. The crop was sown at a reduced rate of 45 kilograms per hectare and included in a mix of annual ryegrass and rape. It was direct-drilled into a cereal paddock from the previous season which had been grazed off and then been burnt. Mr Roads said the plan was to graze the Moby pasture in eight weeks and they were able to achieve this with a large mob of sheep entering the paddock in early June.
He said his agronomist had recommended putting the biggest mob possible and just over 300 maiden ewes grazed the 30 acre section. A stock rotation of two weeks on and two weeks off continued through until early September. “It was great to have feed at that time of year,” Mr Roads said. He said they had grown barley for grain in the past but this plant was quite unique in the way it grew. “This plant looks totally different,” he said. “There are lots of tillers all over it. The more you hammer it the better it thickens out and responds.” A nearby Tetila ryegrass paddock was also quite productive, but did not produce the sheer bulk of feed that came from the Moby paddock.
“The Moby barley had more production than the tetila ryegrass did,” he said. “It was great for sheer production.” He said both paddocks produced a lot of feed during the winter period and took the pressure off the rest of the farm. The alternative would have been to feed out during those colder winter months. A decision was made to convert the paddock to L56 lucerne in the spring and so a higher stocking rate was used up until September to reduce the bulk of feed on the area. It was then sprayed out in the second week of September however the dry conditions that followed meant the lucerne was not planted. The paddock was instead rotated through to a millet and rape blend over summer. Mr Roads said the planned rotation into lucerne helped reduce the weed pressure and prepared the soil well for the legume option. He said they would look at incorporating Moby barley into a similar rotation in 2013.
Jeff Roads, of Penshurst, in Victoria