Mr Hamish Best1
1Auswest & Stephen Pasture Seeds, Truginina, Australia
Spring sown forage brassica is a common feed source for finishing lambs and supplementing cattle over summer when the quality of grasses decline. Autumn sown forage brassica is also an important tool for mixed cropping farmers across Australia to provide high quality winter feed once grazing Canola crops are locked up. Animal production systems rely on grazeable yield, making utilised dry matter yield a more important factor than total yield. Recent plant breeding has developed Mainstar forage brassica, a new cultivar that maximises animal production in comparison to older brassica genetics.
This paper will demonstrate how farmers can increase lamb production by explaining multi-site, multi-year replicated grazing trials across Ballarat, Hawkes Bay (NZ), Wairarapa (NZ) and Lincoln (NZ). It will show significant increases in dry matter yield and edible yield per hectare. The main mechanism causing the production gain is a very high leaf to stem ratio meaning higher quality feed on offer. When lambs are stocked based on total feed on offer, per hectare production will be the highest when the edible yield is higher in quality. Mainstar has also shown significantly higher tolerance to the grey cabbage aphid and green peach aphid. There are also very visible differences in grazing preference with this recently released forage brassica
Hamish has10 years experience the pasture seed industry both in Australia and New Zealand, focussing on farm systems and pastures