Product Used: Outback Forage Oats
Outback oats planted early in the season were able to fill a feed gap in early autumn on the property of Peter Cullen, at Berry, on the south-coast of New South Wales. Mr Cullen said the very dry conditions of the previous spring and summer meant they had not been able to reserve feed that otherwise would have been used. The Outback oats were planted in February and established well on rain that fell shortly afterwards. “It was terrific stuff,” Mr Cullen said. “It was up to knee high when we fed it off. It really got us out of a hole.” He said once the oats had established they kept on feeding it and had five grazings from it across the season.
“It produced big broad leaves.” Moby forage barley was also used on the property and was able to fill a feed gap that occurs towards the end of winter. Mr Cullen said Moby was planted at the end of May and produced three good grazings at a time where some of the other forage options were under pressure. He said the lack of conserved feed from the previous year meant they were very concerned about what they were going to do during that time. “Moby worked really well,” he said. “We put it in because it was quick to eat off and it would also last.” All crops on the property are grown dryland and so rely on conserved moisture and rainfall to survive.
During 2013 the key was selecting the right varieties to make the most of the rainfall and to fill the feed gaps that would normally be addressed with conserved forage. The dairy milks 85 cows throughout the year and is looking to increase that number to 100 in the near future. Cows are milked all year round and so the different crops utilised are chosen for their versatility as well as their good quality and ability to be turned into milk.
Peter Cullen, of Berry, NSW, in Outback oats used to fill an early autumn feed gap last year.