Stephen and Shirlee Barrow
“When we put it in, it just took off. I just couldn’t believe it. I could get a winter as well as a summer out of it. There are only stalks left but once you take off the stock it shoots up from the top of the stalks again. It grows out from everywhere.”
Stephen Barrow has created a winning Waverley trifecta with Seed Force.
By rotating SF Greenland forage rape, SF AT77 forage barley, and a SF perennial ryegrass cocksfoot mix, Stephen has a champion system.
Stephen and Shirlee Barrow farm 3000 Romney breeding ewes on 673ha of flat to rolling land and usually buy in 500-700 lambs to fatten. They also buy in 250 R2 steers and 30-50 100-plus kg spring calves to fatten.
About 10ha of the Barrow’s farm is planted annually in SF Greenland forage rape. Extremely late flowering the rape offers sowing flexibility throughout the year which means it maintains its quality longer.
Stephen is using the same rape crop to summer graze his lambs as he does to winter feed his cattle. He says his SF Greenland forage rape is the ultimate two-for-one deal. “It’s a summer crop which I plant in spring. I graze lambs on it and then we shut it up in autumn and let it grow on as a winter feed for the cattle.”
The Barrows have planted it for three seasons. “When we put it in, it just took off. I just couldn’t believe it. I could get a winter as well as a summer out of it. There are only stalks left but once you take off the stock it shoots up from the top of the stalks again. It grows out from everywhere.”
The Barrow farm sits on volcanic ash with a PH level of 5.8-6.1 and an average Olsen P of 27. Stephen’s crop rotation includes SF AT77 forage barley which is paying dividends.
Time of planting to first grazing is 31 days. The weight gain in his weaned lambs is obvious. “We put the second or third cut on there and they catch up with the first cut.”
As well as being palatable, Stephen can get in and spray the barley with MCPA for weeds giving him a cleaner seed bed for the grass mix he establishes post barley.
His grass mix includes SF Stellar or SF Hustle perennial ryegrass, SF Greenly II, SF Quest white clover, and SF Rosabrook subterranean clover. SF Rosabrook is ideal as a dryland pasture mix and companion for SF Greenly II. “The mix will work for dry stock farmers like myself. We can dry out quite badly in the later part of the summer. The cocksfoot kicks in when it’s dry and will keep the crop growing.”
Stephen is grateful to Seed Force representative Kerry Davidson for creating the tailored grass mix combating the late summer dry. “I find him very helpful particularly with the new crops that are coming out all the time. He was the reason we put the forage barley in to fatten lambs and it’s worked. We get advice on pasture mixes, new grasses, and what we need for the type of stock we farm.”
For Stephen, Seed Force remains the one to beat.