Fodder beet is showing promise as a forage crop for growing out trading lambs in autumn, while fitting a cropping rotation that maximises per hectare production.
This was the finding of a one-year trial carried out on Scott Linklater’s mixed cropping farm in the Manawatu. Through B+LNZ’s Innovation Farm programme (formerly known as 'Demonstration Farms'), Scott designed a trial to maximise the profitability and productivity of lambs on fodder beet.
While the focus was on lamb production, Scott found that – once the crop was finished at the end of May – he was able to put the paddock straight into a dual-purpose winter wheat crop. Over a 16-month period, this cropping regime maximised per hectare returns.
Due to fodder beet’s high yield, Scott was able to run 280 lambs/ha on the crop for 60 days – and this, he says, is where the real value lies.
“That is why the product is so good.”
About the trial
The trial began on April 1 and ran for 61 days. It involved three mobs of bought-in store lambs. A control mob remained on grass, while two were on fodder beet with different supplement regimes. The lambs were weighed every two weeks.
Once the lambs had grazed the fodder beet, they were finished on pasture and processed over July and August.
Scott says he was rapt with the trial results and plans to implement the fodder beet system again next year. He will, however, be fine-tuning the lamb management based on the outcomes of this year’s trial.
Get more information about the results
A workshop and panel discussion to discuss the results of the trial will be held at 3pm on Thursday, 15 September 2016 at Feilding Yellows Rugby Club, Drake St, Feilding.
Jason Griffin, B+LNZ’s extension manager for the region, says the panel discussion will give farmers the opportunity to ask questions of the project team.
Please email your question(s) to Jason prior to the workshop.