Product Used: Outback Forage Oats
The palatability of Outback forage oats was demonstrated last season in a trial of six varieties on the Peter Smith property at Nobby, on the Darling Downs in Queensland. Peter’s son, Clay Smith, said the trial was planted in the last week of February under a lateral irrigator and was grazed four times across the season by the dairy cows. At the end of the season the area was also cut for hay. Mr Smith said the cows had access to all six varieties each grazing but would inevitably go to the Outback oats section of the paddock first. “The cows really flogged it down to the ground. They would leave bits and pieces in some of the other oats,” he said.
Outback proved to be highly palatable and recovered well after each grazing, in spite of the fact that it was taken right down to ground level. The cows were put into the paddock immediately after milking in the morning and a hot wire was used to take them across the area. “They would get a 20 or 30 metre wide strip each day.” Mr Smith said. As well as the grazing option some Outback oats were also used under both dryland and irrigated conditions to produce small squares of hay. Both paddocks were planted in March and taken through for a hay cut, with the dryland block producing an average of 80 small squares per hectare and the irrigated block producing 130 small squares per hectare. The hay was sold to a local produce store and was well received by customers. “It made nice, green hay and held its colour really well.” Mr Smith said.
The irrigated paddock was particularly impressive as it was planted in an old lucerne paddock and grew very well throughout the season. Mr Smith said it reached a height of approximately six feet, with the delayed heading characteristic quite noticeable. “It didn’t look like it would put out a head,” he said. Varieties in the grazing trial were planted at 40 kilograms per hectare and received 80 kilograms per hectare of Starter fertiliser and between 100 and 120 kilograms per hectare of urea was applied after each grazing. Seasonal conditions were generally favourable and irrigation was also utilised once the cows had left the paddock.
Peter and Clay Smith, of Nobby, QLD, achieved excellent hay yields and grazing palatability from Outback forage oats.