Forage Crops Provide Valuable Bulk and Quality Feed in Winter and Spring

On-going dry weather could mean tight feed supplies this year, so a forage crop which generates high quality feed in winter and spring will be invaluable for maintaining stock performance.

A crop of Intimidator forage oats or Maimai ryecorn undersown with an annual clover such as Moa persian clover will ensure stock get a good bulk feed over the winter months and a high ME legume to meet the increased energy requirements of ewes going into lambing and lactation.

Andrew Johnston from Luisetti Seeds says Intimidator forage oats are particularly versatile as they can either be used for grazing or made into high-quality hay, green-chop silage or whole crop silage.

When sown in autumn, the crop will provide early to late winter grazing and Andrew says this will be particularly valuable this year when farmers may not have autumn-saved pasture to carry through into the winter months.

Intimidator oats generate a large bulk of quality feed over winter and can be used for cereal silage in summer.
Intimidator oats generate a large bulk of quality feed over winter and can be used for cereal silage in summer.

Another forage crop option is Maimai ryecorn, which performs well in cooler parts of the country, especially in the South, inland areas or at altitude.

Andrew says Maimai ryecorn is a high-yielding cultivar which grows quickly from autumn sowing. Typically, it will be ready to graze 8 to 10 weeks after establishment and can be grazed several times over winter before being harvested for silage in spring.

He recommends farmers talk to their Luisetti Seeds’ agronomist about sowing a legume with their winter forage crop so they have a bank of high ME feed for ewes going into lambing.

“Setting up pastures for spring production could be a challenge this year, so a high-yielding forage crop with a legume would be a valuable component in a pastoral system. This will ensure the nutritional requirements of in-lamb ewes are met throughout winter and early spring.”

For more information about forage crop options talk to your Luisetti Seeds’ agronomist.