Product Used: Moby Forage Barley
Moby forage barley, which was taken for hay and exported through Balco, has been successful on more marginal country in property of Brett Roberts, at Avon, north of Adelaide in South Australia. Mr Roberts plants 10 to 15 per cent of the operation to hay crops each season and traditionally that has consisted of oats. In more recent years, Moby barley has been added to the mix and has performed well on a range of country.”It seems a better option in our drier, salty country,” Mr Roberts said. “It goes well over sand and can be planted earlier.”
In 2014 Moby was sown on April 20 at 40 to 50 kilograms per hectare and produced a yield of six tonnes per hectare at harvest on September 10. The barley took advantage of very good rainfall early which provided a bulk of vegetative matter and, ultimately, a very good yield. Varied seasonal conditions demonstrated the importance of having different options with the lack of rainfall from July through to spring and summer badly affecting the yield and gross margin of other crops. The gross margin of the Moby was excellent with good feed tests and a very good price paid by Balco for the barley as export hay.
“I think it is a good option,” Mr Roberts said. Gross margins were up and down all over the place, depending on what crop you grew. It was too wet in July and then it didn’t rain again. The hay was fantastic.” He said next year’s hay crops will consist of 300 hectares of Moby barley and 500 hectares of oats. Moby will be concentrated on the saltier, more coastal country and had a number of other advantages on top of being able to be planted earlier. “There are more herbicide options with barley,” Mr Roberts said. “We can use treflan to control ryegrass so it is another string to the bow.
Canola is generally planted in the year following the hay crop, with the early harvest of the barley and oats enabling the paddock to take advantage of any spring and summer rainfall to conserve moisture. “Canola is also easy to establish in hay stubble,” Mr Roberts said. The removal of a lot of the stubble bulk and a lack of grain left on the ground with hay also helps keep the snails and mice off the paddock.
Pat Guerin of Balco and Brett Roberts, of Avon, SA inspecting Moby forage barley 66 days after sowing where it had reached the 6 leaf stage with 3 to 4 tillers.