Fodder Crops

Summer fodder crops are an extremely valuable out of season feed source. By January/February when feed is limited, farmers will wish they had a summer forage crop in the ground as they produce large volumes of feed and are relatively inexpensive to establish.
They can be used as maintenance feed, as an alternative to feeding out hay and silage, or a highly nutritive mix can be used to finish livestock. In years gone by, a summer crop may have comprised of a forage rape or turnip mixed with some millet to fatten stock in a finishing system. In recent times, with increasing livestock prices, there has been a focus on pushing animal production which has led to diversifying the mixture by way of including summer active forages like chicory, red clover and daikon radishes.
By sowing a summer fodder crop a paddock will be in much better condition for sowing a permanent pasture in the following autumn. By levelling and working the paddock in spring it cuts down the preparation time enormously and in most situations it is simply a matter of direct drilling your permanent pasture.

Variety Sowing Rate Regrowth Drought Tolerance Approx Weeks to 1st Grazing Attributes
FORAGE RAPE          
Winfred 2-5 Very Good Very High 10-12 Most reliable producer for dryland situation, recovers quickly from grazing, slightly less palatable than newer varieties.
Mainstar 2-5 Very Good High 10 -12 Increased palatability and leaf percentage compared to Winfred. High aphid tolerance.
Pillar 2-5 Very Good High 12 - 14 Fast establishing, high yielding, multi-graze giant-type Forage Rape. Very good re-growth.
Titan 2-5 Very Good High 10 -12 Multi-graze option with excellent regrowth. Dryland or irrigation option.
Pacer 3 - 5 Excellent Medium 6 - 8 Very fast establishing leafy turnip, rapid recovery from grazing, multi graze option.
Bouncer 3 - 5 Excellent Medium 6 - 8 Leafy turnip, multi graze option, fast recovery from grazing.
Appin 1 - 2 Good Medium 6 - 9 Suited to all livestock. Reliable producer, don’t overgraze initially.
MPT 0.5 - 2 Poor Medium 14 Excellent value for money in broad acre situation. Leafy tops and large bulbs, marginal country. One graze option.
Marco 1 - 2 Poor Medium 7 - 10 Very early maturing, 50-70 days from sowing to grazing, high bulb-leaf ratio, very high yielding, one graze.
Shirohie 8 - 25   Medium 6 - 8 Reliable safe source of forage, excellent source of roughage, also suits irrigation.