Stew and Julie Eden
“it’s very palatable, and I suppose that’s the proof, that the cows actually like eating it. Palatability is critical to milking cows.”
Wintering yearlings on SF Brigadier™ fodder beet gives Southland dairy farmers Stew and Julia Eden high crop yields without having to crop massive amounts of land.
The Edens run a self-contained dairy operation at Balfour, Southland. Milking 300 cows on their 199 hectare (effective) milking platform, they milk virtually year round and all young stock and wintering is done on-farm.
Because of this, land is at a premium, and by sowing SF Brigadier™ they are able to winter all yearling cattle on the property.
“It’s the yield (that’s attractive). Even on dry country at our previous farm we could still get 18 tonnes of dry matter per hectare, up to 24t DM/ha. Where we are now is heavier ground. To grow kale I would need twice the area. People get caught up in the cost, but when you take the yield and divide it into the cost it (beet) still comes out as good as swedes or kale – without the insect problem,” Stew says.
“If we had to have twice as much area to get the yearlings through, it would put us under pressure at other times of the year.”
The Edens have a cow barn with part dedicated to milking cows and the rest to dry cows, which basically forms the rest of their wintering system.
For their pasture mix they have been using SF Stellar™ perennial ryegrass, SF Greenly cocksfoot, SF Quest white clover, SF Rossi™ red clover and some SF Boston plantain for the last five to six years.
This pasture mix is used for cutting and carrying, as well as grazing. The grass grown is either eaten by the cows or made into high quality silage.
“It’s a little slower to establish than some others we have tried, but once it’s established it’s very palatable, and I suppose that’s the proof, that the cows actually like eating it. Palatability is critical to milking cows.”
The Edens have worked with Seed Force™’s Liam Donnelly to come up with good solutions for their farm.
“For me, what they did was really look at what we were trying to achieve and have given us something that’s lasting the distance,” Stew says.
“I think part of the success of the sward is the amount of clover in there. Our cows are pretty high producing cows and it (the clover) certainly helps a lot.”