A farm visit with Dave Barry, Labertouche
August 22 2016
With our calving pattern we have a big requirement for late summer and autumn feed, so Chico delivers a large amount of quality feed when we need it most. Chico give us the extra feed in autumn and assists us to create our own autumn break.
We began growing Chico fourteen years ago with the aim to get the most out of 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.
Each year I plant 10ha of Chico in late September, with grazing a reliable 9 weeks later. In last season, the driest October on record, we grazed Chico still in late November.
In the best seasons we have growth rates of 100kg/ha in the peak autumn period, and summer & early autumn yields of 14DM/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 extra feed, Chico is an excellent source of energy and protein.
Chico 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.