Product Used: Moby Forage Barley
Moby barley complemented oats well as a feed source on the property of Layton Free, at Clifton, on the central Darling Downs in Queensland. Mr Free said it was the first time he had sown Moby barley and it was used primarily to fill the winter feed gap for cattle. He said they would normally use oats in that situation but put in a paddock of Moby barley as an option last year. Three paddocks of forage cereal were sown, with oats put in on rainfall in mid-March in two paddocks and the Moby barley sown in the weeks that followed.
Those planting dates allowed the first block of oats to be grazed from June 4, the second from June 26 and the Moby barley from July 17. Mr Free said they took the top off the oats first because they had been planted before the Moby, although he was impressed at the excellent establishment of the barley. “If they were planted at the same time, the barley would have been quicker.” He said their nutritionist had been keen to look at the forage value of the Moby barley and took tissue samples away to be tested. “He was happy with the results.”
When the cattle did enter the Moby barley paddock they took to the feed quickly and did particularly well on it. “The cattle firmed up more on the barley than they did on the oats,” Mr Free said. “They worked their way through from one end to the other.” He said the 100 acre paddock was grazed by approximately 400 head of cattle and then the stock were reintroduced to the first oats paddock and the rotation started again. A dry lick consisting of magnesium and phosphorous was also used in the cereal crops as a supplement. Cattle on the property are introduced throughout the year and fattened on grazing pastures before being finished off on corn or barley silage.
Mr Free said the success of the barley last season will ensure it will be planted again as an option in 2014. He said it would go in as early as possible on rainfall and be used to feed the cattle through the vital winter month periods. The success of the barley was remarkable considering the very dry seasonal conditions of the year, without rainfall of more than an inch at the one time, falling from June through to mid-November.
Layton Free of Clifton, QLD, had great results with Moby barley last season.