fodder beet establishment
- Select free draining paddocks that are able to be prepared to a good standard
- Avoid paddocks where previous crops have had residual chemicals used
- Soil test early using a 150mm soil probe. Test pH of paddocks being considered for Fodder Beet well before sowing. A pH above 6 is required, ideally 6.2
- Spray out and prepare seed bed as early as possible, using a double spray programme if necessary
- A fallow period should be used to help conserve soil moisture
- Fertiliser use should be based on recent soil tests, fertiliser should not be applied with seed
- A fine, firm seed bed is essential (heel indent should just be seen)
- Apply insecticides prior to or at drilling if required, monitor for insect pests post establishment
- Sow into adequate soil moisture from when soil temperature is at least 10_C (pay attention to night time soil temperatures as well as day time and check last frost date)
- Best results are achieved using a precision drill. Sow seeds at 1.5 – 2.0cm depth. Make sure coulters have an even depth
- Sow one full box per hectare (80,000 seeds), when using a precision drill
- Drill speed should be low, to avoid poor seed placement, 4 – 5 kph maximum
- Apply post plant/pre emergence herbicide after sowing, if conditions are dry this may have to be applied and incorporated prior to sowing
- Plan your herbicide program based on expected weeds, and to avoid delay in correct timing of application.
- Apply when crop has at least two true leaves and before weeds reach the four true leaf stage
- Apply second nitrogen application close to canopy closure
fodder beet management
- Average crop maturity timeframe is 200 + days (maturity will vary depending on location and climate and is intended as a guide only).
How to graze
- When feeding ensure to strip graze crop.
- Preferably shift break on a daily basis.
When to graze SF Fodder Beet
- SF fodder beet will generally be fed off prior to August, however bulbs will maintain quality longer if need be.
- Normal feeding is from May to August.
What else should be used as part of the ration?
- Feed ration can be set up similar to brassicas.
- A balanced diet of pasture/silage/straw or hay will help to alleviate potential issues in a similar fashion to when feeding brassicas
- Immature beets should not be fed to stock due to potentially high levels of nitrates.
- Consider supplementing a source of calcium if the tops are not wilted.
- Possible ration:
- 50 – 60% as SF fodder beet - 30 – 35% as grass silage - Remainder as hay or straw
Issues to be aware of with feeding SF Fodder Beet
- Immature crops are high in nitrates.
- Feed mature crops.
- The leaf of beets can have low levels of oxalates that can cause scouring. Introduce stock slowly and feed a balanced diet to help alleviate issues.
Overseas they wilt the leaves prior to feeding or supplement with calcium.
Close monitoring of crop and animal performance will ensure greatest success.