Product Used: Outback Forage Oats
A late planted crop of Outback oats provided three grazings and a cut of silage on the dairy of Wayne Cunningham of Swan Reach, in the east Gippsland region of Victoria. Mr Cunningham, who milks around 150 cows at the organic dairy, trialled the oats in a 4 acre paddock to see how they would perform on the property. He said there was some initial rain in February but nothing of substance until June, so the oats were planted at a rate of 60 kilogram per hectare later in the month. “Ideally I would have planted it in February but the season was a bit spasmodic so I was a bit nervous. When the oats were eventually put in they established well in some very cool conditions and produced the first grazing early in the spring. Mr Cunningham said approximately 100 cows were allowed to strip graze the paddock and moved over the area in three to four days.
The paddock was then locked up and responded quickly before being grazed a further two times over the spring. Cows were introduced after calving with the final area of Outback oats being grazed by 130 cows late in the season. The oats were allowed to reach a height of approximately one foot before being grazed to produce a product of good quality. A total mixed ration system is operated on the dairy with grazing and silage options from a range of different crop types. Mr Cunningham said the oat paddock will be direct-drilled with sorghum for feed into summer. He said the silage from the oats would be utilised in the winter time by the dry cows and heifers. The success of the Outback oats this season has meant it will be utilised more in the coming years as a grazing and silage option. It can be planted from February through until June and provide valuable supplementary feed in conjunction with the total mixed ration on the farm.
Wayne Cunningham, Swan Reach VIC