Flexible as can be grazed or ensiled (whole crop silage). Silage quality general lower ME than good quality maize silage but is less risky in comer regions or exposed locations. In North Island difficult to get good grain fill reducing silage quality.
Range of cultivars from single to multiple grazings.
Best suited single grazing; or multiple cut and carry where height controlled. Quality changes with maturation, protein declining, soluble carbohydrate increasing.
Multiple-graze cereals e.g. triticale, rye corn, oats
Sown in autumn; grazing time in winter not as flexible as Italian ryegrass.
Fall into two categories - summer feed or winter feed. All provide high quality feed and bulbing brassicas a source of carbohydrate (stored starch & soluble sugars).
Dangers feeding can be avoided by careful transitioning between diets (at least 10 days) and supplementing with straw & silage to increase gut fill & reduce rate of intake and by offering two - three smaller breaks during the day. High sugar & low fibre: rumen acidosis. Toxic components SMCO, glucosinolates and high nitrate. SMCO - reduced performance 'red water' disease; highest risk mature kale, flowering brassicas and secondary re-growth. Rape scold in second-growth Pasja.
Swedes (approx 12.0)
Low DM% 11-12% which can limit intake.
Kale (approx 12.5 ME)
High in protein, good levels of soluble carbohydrate and high levels of calcium (7-8g/kg DM compared to pasture 2-2.4g/kg DM). Can be ensiled; need to manage effluent loss. Utilisation 75-80% ideal conditions; 50-60% in the wet. SMCO - greatest risk in mature kale crops; use little to no sulphate fertiliser. Nitrate poisoning: excessive fertiliser use and exacerbated by certain weather conditions. High Ca/P ratio which can cause milk fever in early lactation.
Use long narrow breaks. Introduce cows gradually to adjust to crop; offer a maximum of 2kg DM/cow (approx 2-3m2/cow/day) in first five days increasing over next five days, up to 5kg DM/cow/day; no more than a third of the daily ration.
See Barkant turnips: feeding the crop (Farmfact 1-67).
Management is similar to turnips with time required to adjust crop. Pre-graze at 25-35cm height; graze to 5-10cm. Do not graze lower than 5cm.
See Chicory (Farmfact 1-72b).
Plantain is a forage herb which has become popular, due to its ability to grow quality forage in drier summer conditions. Research into its establishment and grazing management by DairyNZ is reported in the Farmfacts below.
Plantain establishment (Farmfact 1-78a)
Plantain management (Farmfact 1-78b)
Not the same management as kale and swedes. Need to transition cows onto crop over a 14-28 day period depending on targeted intake. A longer transition period is required when aiming to offer un-restricted fodder beet. Graze the roots and leaves together. Transition cows off fodder beet 10-14 days prior to calving and supplement with magnesium.
Note 1: SIMCO = amino acid S-methylcysteine sulphoxide.
Foundation for Arable Research - Crops for Cows
In the last five years the Foundation for Arable Research (FAR), DairyNZ and MPI’s Sustainable Farming Fund have funded a number of projects focussing on the integration of arable and dairy systems. FAR Focus - Crops for Cows summarises the results from these projects and provides evidence of the benefits of the integration of arable and dairy systems.
In particular it focuses on:
- The opportunity for maximising the productivity of a range of forage crops for dairy supply, both on and off the dairy platform.
- The opportunity for using crops on the dairy platform to manage the nutrients associated cropping after long term pasture and effluent application.