Product Used: Outback Forage Oats
A trial paddock of Outback oats for Alex Dunster at Shell Harbour, on the south-coast of New South Wales, provided hay and grazing options across the season. Mr Dunster said they were transitioning out of dairy and were looking for alternatives so put in a paddock of Outback oats. “We were really happy with them,” he said. “It was the first time we had grown them and we wanted to see how the oats would work.” He said they were experimenting with a few different feed options. “This was a chance to assess if we could cut small bales from the oats and still be cost effective.”
The Outback oats were planted in the autumn and provided one good grazing for the cattle before being shot up for hay. “They came out of the ground really fast,” Mr Dunster said. “We ate it off straight away and then let it come back and we cut it after that.” He said the season it was grown was quite dry and it was amazing how much growth came from the oats under the circumstances. “I saw a satellite photo of the area and everything else was dry and the oats kept soldiering on. It was really green through the dry conditions.” The hay was cut by a contractor, baled into the small squares with the oats producing hay of very good quality.
The area produced a yield of 200 small bales per hectare in a very good result. Mr Dunster said the contractor was happy with the way the oats cut and baled and the produce was stored in a shed to be used across the next season. “We sold a bit of the hay to cover costs and then fed the rest back to the calves.” He said the cattle took to the feed really well. The oats produced plenty of leaf which helped produce a quality product at harvest. Mr Dunster said the Outback oats were direct-drilled into an area of kikuyu grass which had been sprayed out in the lead-up.
Alex Dunster, Shell Harbour, NSW