Thursday, 03 September 2015 14:17

Chicory as summer crop

Written by 

One response to tight economic circumstances for many dairy farmers is to look at reducing the amount of feed they buy in for their cows, says fertiliser co-op Ravensdown.

The challenge many face is finding the best crop to see them through different times of the year.

Brendon and Rochelle O'Leary milk 400 cows on 85ha at Gordonton, north of Hamilton. To increase efficiency they have split calving, with 310 cows calving in the autumn (from March 10) and the other 90 in the spring (from July 10).

Chicory has been a part of their summer cropping programme for six seasons.

"It's a high-quality feed with good protein levels so the cow's milk well on it over summer. We're very pleased with the results it has given us," Brendon says.

Thirty hectares of maize silage and 100 tonne DM of grass silage is grown on a runoff about 18km away at Orini, where they graze their young stock.

"We bring a lot of feed onto this farm. We milk twice a day with the cows fed on a feed pad. They are high producing Friesian and Friesian-cross cows with a lactation length of 305 days on average producing 480kg of milk solids per cow."

The O'Leary's selected chicory as a summer crop and grow it on peat soils as part of the pasture renovation process on the farm.

"We grow enough maize silage off the farm. We needed a crop we could graze on the platform during milking. Chicory has high protein and gives us high yields so it was a perfect fit for what we required in a summer crop."

The O'Learys say they spray the paddocks in September with the chicory planted in October. A post-emergence spray follows, after germination (usually about 23 days after sowing) to take out any broadleaf weeds and any summer grasses coming through at the same time.

"It is most important to keep chicory weed-free to get the best yield out of it," Brendon says.

The chicory is grazed from early December until April with a rotation of about 23 days. The crop's yield is about 18-20 tonne per hectare for the season.

"Chicory grows well over summer because it has a big tap root that gets down into the moisture and continues to grow a lot better than pasture would at the same time of year. We continue grazing it until about the end of April and then spray it out and put the paddock into permanent pasture."

The O'Leary's say that support from Ravensdown's agri manager Sarah Sexton helped them maximise forage production and they will plant another 20ha of chicory again this spring.

More like this

2020 harvest yields up

Final harvest data for wheat, barley and oats (milling/malting and feed) in 2020 show yields were up 17% overall across the six crops.

Featured

 

Lely offerings for the future

Dutch robotic specialist Lely launched a new farm management application called Horizon at its recent Future Farm Days 2020.

Designed to connect data from a range of on-farm equipment and suppliers into one management system, it creates a real-time decision-support platform, to make the farmer’s life easier, the herd healthier and the farm more profitable, says Lely.

Developed over a 24-month period, with over 100 test farmers in seven countries, working with 75 engineers, designers, farm management advisors, veterinarians and AI specialists, the new application will eventually replace the current Lely T4C management system. It uses smart algorithms and the cloud to deliver data that is processed into actionable information that is always accessible on any device in a user-friendly way.

Lely claims the Horizon application unburdens farmers from routine decision making and helps them optimise their workloads, using integrated routines based on easily scheduled cow ‘touches’, create logical and more efficient workflows. It is also possible to assign a certain task to an employee and to schedule a time slot for the cow touch, rather than analysing different reports and filtering long lists.

Horizon is also able to connect and combine data from non-Lely sources into a complete solution for the farmer removing the need to enter the same data twice, while scrutinising individual data streams in different applications will no longer be necessary. Currently, connections with farming applications such as Dairy Comp, Uniform-Agri, CRV and Herde already enable farmers to synchronise information about calving and inseminations between applications. Lely’s ambition is to connect with more partners over time, to hand the farmer more smart data.

To ensure full support in the migration to Lely Horizon, existing Lely T4C customers will be personally informed by their Lely Center before the end of 2020.

The migration is planned in a phased approach, from country to country, over the year 2021.

Also launched at the event, Lely Exos is an autonomous concept for harvesting and feeding fresh grass to the herd.

The company suggests that feeding fresh grass makes better use of available roughage, suggesting “fresh” has between 10 and 20% more nutritional value than grass silage, as there are minimal losses typically seen during mowing, tedding, raking, harvesting and feeding.

Lely suggests that feeding fresh grass over an extended season reduces the amount of silage that has to be conserved, reduces the need for concentrates and bought-in feed and increase the margin made on each litre of milk produced.

Based around an all-electric vehicle that mows and feeds, Exos is light weight and uses soil friendly technology, that can be exploited throughout the growing season. Design to work 24/7 as feed requirements change, the system places no constraints on labour or time, while it is also designed to work in tandem with the Lely Vector automatic feeding systems.

In operation, Exos also collects field data as it goes about its job, giving framers live data on grass supply and lending itself to a further concept of delivering a targeted liquid fertiliser as it passes over a harvested area.

Goat farming on the rise

Dairy goat milk processors, looking to increase their supplier numbers, are helping to drive interest among farmers in New Zealand’s growing goat milk industry.

TB fight goes on

The total number of TB-infected herds in Hawke’s Bay has risen to 20, following the recent reclassification of a new herd in the Waitara Valley.

Milking cows behind the barbed wire

A recent field day at the Waikeria Prison Farm near Te Awamutu offered farmers the chance to see what goes on “behind the wire”, alongside introducing the idea of farmers employing offenders near the end or after the term of their sentences.

National

Miraka picks up awards

Taupo-based Maori dairy company Miraka took the top honours at this year’s Biosecurity Awards.

Wyeth ready for new challenge

The chief executive-elect of Yili-owned Westland Milk Products Richard Wyeth says he’s looking forward to the challenge of running the…

Machinery & Products

Mixer makes feeding easy

Coolbreene Trust near Taupo is a large-scale dairy operation farming 1150ha, including run-off blocks, within a 10km radius of its…

More colour to light range

Originally available with amber lenses only, Narva’s ‘Geomax’ Heavy Duty LED Strobe Beacon light range has been upgraded with the…

State funding for recycling

Having declared in July that all farm plastics sold in New Zealand will have to be recycled or reused, the…

» The RNG Weather Report

» Latest Print Issues Online

Milking It

Avoiding listeria

OPINION: The company that makes dairy products under “The Collective” brand, and which copped a nearly $500,000 fine for failing…

Greenpeace seeing red

OPINION: Still with Greenpeace, the organisation’s push for a price on agricultural greenhouse gas emissions is gaining momentum since the…

» Connect with Dairy News

» eNewsletter

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter