feed and forage

Running the Farm : Feed & forage

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hayHay is the oldest form of conserved feed.  But you need to be careful before you part with your money, especially if you are buying when there is a shortage.

chicoryflowerwIf you farm livestock then you now have a range of forage plants to grow for feed as well as good pastures.

The horror of last year's drought is still very much in the memory of anyone who had to buy silage - when a $60 bale sold for $200, without any question about feed quality.

chicorywChicory as forage is moderately persistent and has a strong deep taproot and a rosette of broad succulent leaves.

tree lucerneTagasaste or tree lucerne is a perennial forage shrub or small tree that grows well in mild, temperate climates. It can provide good feed for farm livestock maintenance and for wool growth, and provides shelter from chilling winds. It also supplies good firewood where that is needed.

oatswIn recent years there has been a marked increase in the use of cereals for supplementary grazing and silage for dairying.

hayA guest contribution and pearls of wisdom from Lois Mundell after a lifetime in the business.

Book in early and state clearly what you want the contractor to do. For example, do you want mowing and baling, or baling only, or the whole job done including putting it in your hayshed? Once in the system don't try to jump the queue. Contractors know that all their customers want their hay in "yesterday" so they can go to the beach for Christmas.

Feed budgets are needed to make sure there is enough feed on the farm to meet the needs of the stock.  Doing a budget gives you the confidence to know what's going on - and if you have a feed deficit coming up, you can see it in good time and are not caught out.  In a grazing situation, start a regular monthly feed budget in autumn from the date when the animal feed needs exceed pasture growth on your farm.  Stop when your feed supply exceeds the animal needs in spring.

willowwWillows are already well known for supplying timber that makes excellent cricket bats, and as a source of aspirin (along with poplars), but they are also very useful on the land.

balagewDon’t assume that you'll get through the year without any supplementary feed. 

poplarwWhen you plant poplar trees on a farm in New Zealand you add beauty, feed, shelter and possibly timber.

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