1Birchip Cropping Group
Peer review: James Hunt (La Trobe University)
Key Words: grazing crops, row spacing, barley
- Dual purpose barley grown after grain legumes produced the highest yield and quality of forage by GS30.
- Grazing barley at GS30 increased grain yield by 0.3t/ha.
- Yield was unaffected by row spacing or previous crop type, but protein was higher in barley grown following grain legumes.
Dual purpose cereal crops can fill the early winter feed gap for livestock producers, with the vigorous early growth of cereals providing feed faster than pastures can. Previous research has shown that if crops are grazed early (before stem elongation), the residual leaf matter can recover without large penalties on grain yield or quality (Frischke and Ick, 2014). While the effects of preceding crop types and row spacing on yield in grain-only crops has been widely investigated by BCG, no previous studies have examined how these factors might influence the amount of feed provided by dual purpose crops, or how well they are able to recover yield following defoliation.
To investigate how previous crop type and row spacing influence the amount of forage that dual purpose cereal crops produce, and how well they recover from grazing.
One factorial replicated trial was sown to Fathom barley as a split-split plot design over the top of a failed 2015 stubble type by row spacing trial on clay soils at Kalkee. The crop types in the 2015 trial included Derrimut wheat, Compass barley, Bonito TT canola, Fiesta faba beans and Jumbo2 lentils. In 2016 plots were sown over the different stubble types on 225mm, 305mm or 380mm row spacings. Grazing was simulated at GS30 (8 August) using a line trimmer, cutting the crop to 7cm high.
Assessments included emergence counts, crop biomass analysis at grazing time and at anthesis and grain yield and quality parameters. Feed quality was analysed in the 305mm row spacing treatment at GS30. To measure plant recovery, biomass cuts of grazed (GS65) and ungrazed treatments (GS70) were taken on the bean and wheat stubble on all row spacings.
This research was funded by the Hugh D.T. Williamson Foundation.