The potential of Fodder Beet is becoming more widely recognised. Improved germplasm, herbicides and agronomy techniques are providing the impetus for a shift toward this exciting crop.
Seed Force is the main driver behind fodder beet’s recent commercial return to the New Zealand market.
You will find Fodder Beet is one of the highest yielding forage options available to farmers.
Its full potential will only be achieved by good husbandry.
Key points for considering Seed Force Fodder Beet in your rotation are;
- Very high yields, enabling smaller areas to be cropped, therefore lessening strain on crop rotation
- Consistent high energy feed
- Highly palatable and digestible for ruminants
- Not being a brassica, Clubroot, and Dry Rot are not an issue
- Ease of feeding, due to lower height of crop
- Relatively low Nitrogen requirement – positive environmental attraction
Fodder beet (beta vulgaris) is part of a species which includes mangolds and sugar beet and is therefore not part of the brassica species more commonly grown for winter feed in New Zealand. Fodder Beet was originally grown here many years ago and although its potential as a quality feed source for ruminant animals was known the lack of specific weed control herbicides and modern agronomy techniques made it a very labour intensive crop.
Seed Force works closely with key growers and industry groups regarding fodder beet.
Ensure you gain product and agronomy advise from companies supported by Seed Force.
Fodder beet seed is quite different to many of the seeds that are typically sown in New Zealand.
It is bred as two main types: technical (meaning mechanical) monogerm (meaning single seed) and genetic (meaning bred) monogerm.
Technical monogerm seed is produced and harvested as a clustered seed. This then has to be singulated mechanically by way of rubbing or cutting the cluster of seeds to produce singular seeds. This results in a seed which often varies in shape and size and is therefore pelleted to help ensure evenness of seed size and uniformity to aid with sowing. As it is a mechanical process it cannot be guaranteed that all seeds will be singular and post emergence there can often be double seedlings in the paddock. This is not a negative as both seedlings will survive and combine to yield as well as a single plant.
Genetic monogerm seed has the benefit of not going through this mechanical process and therefore the seed size can often be more uniform. The downside to this is that genetic monogerm seeds are
more expensive to produce and therefore more costly to grow.
Regardless of seed type it must be known that fodder beet seed carries a slightly lower typical germination percentage than that of more common species i.e. forage brassicas. This is addressed with sowing rates determined by this known factor. As the seed is produced offshore it is always germination tested to international standards and must reach pre determined requirements. Fodder beet is a slow geminating species compared with brassicas.
Depending on seed bed and climatic conditions emergence is often seen from three weeks.
There has been a lot of misinformation surrounding fodder beet in New Zealand and a lot of this has come from overseas experience with the crop. As New Zealand’s conditions are varied and unique, ensure you use agronomy techniques and advise for your location and environment.