With our calving pattern we have a big requirement for late summer and autumn feed, so chicory delivers a large amount of quality feed when we need it most. Chicory give us the extra feed in autumn and assists us to create our own autumn break.
We began growing Chico chicory fourteen years ago with the aim to get the most out the 22ML of water available on our farm at Labertouche. We were originally irrigating summer pastures, however the results were only average with the pasture suffering from rust and plant pulling. Yet the results we saw from irrigating the chicory were outstanding, and when effluent was applied the growth rates were even higher.
I have used a number of varieties, and from what I saw I believe Chico chicory is the best fit for my farm, so I will continue to plant 10ha of chicory in late September each year, with grazing a reliable 9 weeks later.
In the best seasons we have growth rates of 100kg/ha/day in the peak autumn period, and summer & early autumn yields of 14tonnes DM/ha eaten. This is outstanding given we plant in late September and back to pasture in May.
Chicory holds onto it quality extremely well compared to tropical grasses such as Millet & Sorghum, giving us the flexibility to delay grazings when we need the quality feed most.
Along with the feed flexibility, chicory is an excellent source of energy and protein. Our best summer and early autumn yields have been 14 DM/ha eaten. This is outstanding given we plant in late September and back to pasture in May.
Chicory also allows us to protect the new and established pastures at a time in the year when it is critical to build up pasture cover. I need quality and persistent perennial pastures, and Matrix has proven to be a very persistent variety with good yields.
On March 25th I planted perennial pasture again with Barrier, a new variety which provides above and below ground protection against insect pests. Barrier has done well this season, coming up to its 5th grazing.
I will be planting 10ha of Chico again this season, and I will be wrapped if I get the same results as we have in seasons gone by.