Product Used: Moby Forage Barley
Moby barley has been successfully used for grazing and forage production over the past three years on the dairy enterprise of Gary Zwek, at Blyth, in the mid-north of South Australia. Mr Zwek first trialled Moby in 2011 and has used more in subsequent years with good results. In 2013 a paddock of Moby barley grown on cereal ground from the previous season was cut for silage and produced a yield of 5.6 dry matter tonnes per hectare.
Dairy cows were then able to graze the area through the latter part of spring and into early summer. In another paddock, 20 hectares of Moby barley was divided into four areas with hot wires utilised so the stock could cell graze the paddock through winter. Mr Zwek said they were very low on hay at the time so the grazing produced from the area was extremely valuable. “It saved us a lot,” he said. “We were happy to get the heifers out of the mud. The grazing certainly was of great benefit to us.” Sixty dairy heifers grazed the area and, at one stage, some more stock needed to be introduced to the area to keep up with the production. Moby barley also performed well the previous season with a yield of 5 dry matter tonnes per hectare in a much drier year.
Feed tests taken from Moby barley that season demonstrated excellent quality with protein of 14 to 15 per cent and energy (ME) at 9.5 to 10 per cent. Mr Zwek said they tried to cut the barley prior to head emergence to ensure high quality forage was produced. In 2013 this was able to be achieved, although the silage was made around some rainfall events and was able to be placed into the bunker before the oats were harvested. The provision of barley and oaten silage has allowed the dairy enterprise to calve late in the year and take advantage of higher milk prices through summer and autumn. “It really suits my farming system,” Mr Zwek said. The forage cereal crops are grown as part of a wider rotation which would typically see a vetch crop followed by a number of wheat crops. Forage barley or oats would then be grown before another wheat and vetch. Last season the crop was sown at a rate of 80 kilograms per hectare and put out with 70 kilograms per hectare of DAP. Urea at 50 kilograms per hectare and Liquid N at 40 litres per hectare were applied to the crop during the growth stage.
Gary Zwek, of Blyth, SA, has had excellent results from Moby barley for both grazing and forage production on his dairy enterprise.