Estimating Fodder Beet Yield
- Pull all the beets from at least three different 5 metre long sections of rows in the crop, chosen as a representative sample of the crop which the cows will eat first.
- Clean any dirt off the roots; cut the tops off and weigh the roots and tops separately
- Find the average weight per running metre of row for roots and average weight per metre for tops and multiply these numbers by 20,000 [in the case of a 50cm row spacing or by 22,222 in the case of a 45cm row spacing] to get a kg/ha wet weight for roots and one for tops
- Send a representative sample of roots and tops away for DM determination [a sample bag with instructions should be available from your rural supply store]. Cut an “average – representative” root into quarters lengthwise and seal in a plastic bag to minimise moisture loss. Check with your lab, they may want you to weigh the sample before sending it in.
- Multiply the wet weight kg/ha [step 3] of the roots and tops by their respective DM percentages, add these 2 numbers together to get the kg DM/ha yield.
- Repeat yield assessments every 2-3 weeks during the winter period as crops will continue to grow.
What is Fodder Beet?
Predominantly a high-yielding feed for wintering dairy cows, fodder beet is now being successfully used to put live-weight gain onto cattle and hold body condition of dairy cows on the shoulders of the milking season.
Fodder beet is a very high energy food source, with the bulb contributing to 80 percent of the total plant yield by the start of winter. Bulbs typically range between 55 to 70 percent soluble sugars and are low in protein and fibre, so strict management of feeding and appropriate supplementation is necessary to reduce the risk of animal health problems, particularly during the feeding transition phase of crop grazing.