UQ/DAF Gatton Research Dairy – Feeding Fodder Beet 2015

Welcome to the UQ/DAF Gatton dairy update
where today we are broadcasting from our fodder beet demonstration crop here this morning
and as you can see the cows are happily grazing the crop where they have been for some two
months now. We are quite pleased with results and how the cows have transitioned onto the
crop and today we are going to walk you through some of the grazing management principles
that need to be considered when starting cows on fodder beet.
It is quite important to have an understanding of the current yield you crop is at when transitioning
cows onto the beet as this determines the allocation. We allocate the cows 1kg of dry
matter per cow per day for the first five days. By doing this we allow on metre of row
frontage to the cows. When we started out cows we had 120 cows that went in onto the
beet crop and this meant that we needed a 120m row space. The cows no are consuming
approximately 3.5-4kg of dry matter per day. You may wonder how the cows actually eat the
beet. A large proportion of the beet is actually up out of the ground as you can see here with
this beet they are quite large. Only a small proportion of this beet was actually in the
ground. So that makes it quite easy for cows to nudge them out of the ground an lay them
on their side. When you first start grazing the cows on beet, the first thing they will
go for is this leaf. On day one the grazing utilisation for us on day one was quite low
as you could imagine. The cows consumed about 85% of the leaf and about 10% of the bulb,
however about after 4-5 days the cows became adapted to the beet crop and they nearly knocked
you over as they ran in the gate to consumer it. The cows now are grazing the beet very
well and we are having a utilization of about 90-95% which we are very pleased with. This
makes the crop a low cost crop costing at about 6-7 cents per kilogram of dry matter
at about 26t of dry matter on offer per hectare. At this high yield the beets are weighing
in at over 26kg per beet. So for safety reasons do ensure your cows do not try and push the
beets out of the ground on their own however perform a two cow push. Currently at the UQ/DAF
Gatton Dairy we are preparing another one and a half hectare block to plant to the grazing
variety of fodder beet Brigadier. This will be used to fill the autumn feed gap coming
into next year. It will be interesting to see how we can grow and establish the crop
over the hot summer months, so stay tuned for more information. To view the current
UQ/DAF dairy statistics go to the dairy info.biz website and click on the Gatton dairy news
tab. Stay tuned for more information.

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