Late summer is a busy time as dairy farm owners and managers make a number of decisions to set their farm up for future seasons.
Winter feed budgeting, checking animal health and selecting grass mixes to follow summer crops are just some of the considerations on farmers’ minds right now. These decisions can have a significant impact on a business’s bottom line, and this year, many farmers are looking to manipulate their seed mix to supply low-cost feed into their system – all while meeting environmental obligations.
Ecotain® environmental plantain is a new forage option for autumn with many different uses on a dairy platform.
Neil Filer, from the Tararua District, is using plantain on his dairy farm as both a nitrogen mitigation tool and quality summer feed. In an area on his farm, which he can irrigate, he’s sown Ecotain at a rate of eight-10 kilograms per hectare (kg/ha) and white clover (two-four kg/ha). Together they are used as summer feed. Neil builds up covers to the desired level to use during the driest time of the year on a specific rotation depending on climatic conditions. He also tops his plantain with his mower to reduce seed head build-up and prevent weed emergence. Throughout the remainder of the year, Neil treats his Ecotain and clover mix like other pastures on his property and balances the demands of his stock with the feed supply.
Waikato farmer Brendon O’Leary utilises Ecotain on his runoff, pairing it with an Italian ryegrass. He sows the Ecotain at a rate of four kg/ha with 20-22 kg/ha of an Italian. He is pleased with this mix and has found it to have a good fit between his maize rotation. When thinking about autumn pasture mixes on his dairy platform, Brendon plants Ecotain in his mix at two-three kg/ha with 20-22 kg/ha of perennial ryegrass. This typically follows a summer crop rotation. By leaving the clover out at sowing, he has more options should any weed challenges arise due to mild winter temperatures. He then broadcasts or drills in the clover portion of the sward the following spring after any weeds are removed.
The experiences of Neil and Brendon show the versatility of Ecotain as a feed source and mitigation tool to help dairy farmers achieve their sustainability goals. If you’re thinking about a new grass mix and your options for autumn, Ecotain is a great addition to any farming system.
For more information on Ecotain, get in touch with your Agricom Territory Manager or contact your local Farm Source store.
Article supplied by Agricom.