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Rural Diary
1 August 2016 External Supplier

Offering strong fodder beet varieties through research and development partnership

With land resource limited, many farmers are looking to grow more feed within the same area and have been impressed with the flexibility and performance of fodder beet over recent years.

Agricom has various proven quality mono-germ fodder beet varieties in the market to suit a range of systems and uses. While Agricom has been extremely happy with its tried and true fodder beet varieties, there has also been positive new additions to its portfolio. Two years ago, Jamon and Cerise were successfully introduced. This past year, the introduction of Ribambelle has impressed many users in its first commercial season.

Brother and sister Chris and Kathryn Stoddart farm with parents Geoff and Sue on their Mid Canterbury property. The Stoddarts are in their second season milking around 500 cows on their 130 ha irrigated dairy property. Although they winter their animals off farm, they decided to grow Ribambelle fodder beet to benefit from a cost effective, flexible and high energy feed for late lactation.

Their crop yielded approximately 20 tDM/ha. The additional 6-8 tDM/ha they achieved off fodder beet compared to previous winter crops within the same area of land, means that they do not have to take as much ground out of pastoral production for the crop.

The flexibility of the crop has also been a positive. They did not graze the entire crop in autumn, leaving some for spring as shoulder season feed for when the early calving cows returned home. The Stoddarts used Ribambelle on-farm in late lactation prior to wintering off, which helped when transitioning the animals on to their main wintering feed.

As first time beet growers, they have had a good support network for the growing, feeding and transition. The key has been sticking to the plan. Their beet programme has been relatively standard, and under the watch of their local PGG Wrightson Technical Field Representative, Peter McKnight, it involved three herbicide sprays, plus a thistle spray.

Agricom is proud to partner with a family owned and research focused seed company, Florimond Desprez. The French company is the 13th largest seed company in the world and impressively invests 15 to 17 percent of its annual turnover into research. Thirty percent of its 938 staff work in research and developement. Florimond Desprez make up to 100 fodder beet crosses a year and have been actively registering new cultivars in France. Agricom has undertaken extensive and national trialling of 10 of Florimond Desprez’s commercial and trial lines to understand the genetics and performance in our New Zealand environment. Some promising varieties will be marketed during the 2016/17 season.

For more information on Agricom fodder beet varieties, contact your local PGG Wrightson Technical Field Representative.

Supplied by Agricom

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