Product Used: Moby Forage Barley
Forage barley has been used as a good alternative to oats on the property of Mick Lyon, at Nobby, on the central Darling Downs. Mr Lyon said it was the second year Moby barley was grown and it had a number of advantages over oats including the fact that is was much less susceptible to rust. Rust is a major factor in Queensland and can cause issues with both yield and quality in susceptible varieties. Moby barley did not show signs of the disease and grew into a very healthy plant. Some 40 hectares of Moby barley was sown at a rate of 40,000 to 45,000 seeds per hectare in late February and established quickly to produce a bulk of forage. The planting date was designed so the forage could be cut for hay, as the days were getting longer, and then also produce other options later in the season. In late July and early August the forage barley was cut and baled in both large, round bales and small, square bales which were then sold into a number of local markets. Mr Lyon said small bales were aimed at the horse market, with the larger round bales sold as cattle feed.
He said the quality of hay from the Moby barley was very good and well accepted by the end users. The hay market on the Darling Downs can be very competitive and so quality is a major factor in selling any type of forage. Yields from the dryland block were around the five to six round bales per acre (12.5 to 15 round bales per hectare). The hay was cut prior to head emergence to ensure quality forage was produced and the barley also had an opportunity to regrow and be further utilised during the spring and early summer. With seasonal conditions that were very good early, but quite dry later, the Moby forage barley still produced excellent regrowth and Mr Lyon was able to graze the area two more times after the hay cut. He said the cattle took to the barley very quickly and did particularly well on the feed late in the season. The dry conditions of spring and summer affected all the forages and may have prevented further grazing options. Moby barley responded well to the little moisture that was available.
Mick and Cameron Lyon of Nobby, Queensland