Product Used: Moby Forage Barley
A pasture trial conducted on the RA and JM Hall property at Manoora in the mid-north of South Australia demonstrated the benefits of Moby forage barley in comparison to oats. Andrew Hall said they would have normally grown oats on the property but decided to plant larger areas of Moby forage barley after the trial work. He said the growth habit and ability to provide abundant feed within the winter at traditional feed gap periods, meant it was a good option. Mr Hall is an enthusiastic sheep producer and chairperson of the Mid North Young Guns who farms with his parents in a mixed farming enterprise. The operation crops 1300 acres each year and runs 1350 ewes consisting of self-replacing Merino and Merino / Dohne crossbreeding flocks. After initially sowing 20 hectares of Moby barley in 2010 the area of the variety increased to 80 hectares over two properties at Spalding and Manoora.
The Moby forage barely was sown at a rate of 60 kilograms per hectare with vetch in mid-May of 2011. Urea was applied at 50 kilograms per hectare and the pasture established quickly and jumped out of the ground to produce feed early in the season and at a time where forage options are hard to come by. The majority of the pastures were rotationally grazed throughout winter and spring although one 20 hectare area was left alone with the intention of utilising the feed in November. There is normally a gap between harvest and mating season so the conserved forage was a great option to fill the void at that time of year. At one stage of the season Mr Hall introduced 300 merino lambs to a five hectare area and the Moby barley produced enough feed for a four week period. “The lambs did not leave one bit,” Mr Hall said. “The plants had run to head and were standing approximately 160cm tall and they chewed it down to the ground. “I’ve found, due to Moby being an awnless variety, the sheep eat the heads and all, instead of taking all the lower leaf matter and leaving the heads still standing,” he said. Mr Hall said Moby was a good all-round performer by providing early grazing within five to six weeks of sowing and is an excellent option for strip grazing. He said Moby could be left until head emergence with very little loss of dry matter forage when grazing and it could also be used as a handy hay option.
Andrew Hall, Manoora SA