Chicory in mix adds
milksolids to the vat

The FARMLADER   September 2017

Page 45

Ensuring high-quality, reliable homegrown
feed throughout summer and
autumn is a goal Reporoa farmer
Mathew Martelli is achieving with
Choice chicory. The feed quality of
Choice also means he sees the
results in the vat, with a significant
increase in milksolids production
compared with an all-grass diet.
Mathew farms 325 cows on a 152ha
(141ha effective) dairy farm. Choice
chicory, a deep tap-rooted long-lived
herb, works well in drought proofing the
amount and quality of his feed supply in
the variable summer rainfall
environment. "Our system is low input
so chicory fits well during the dry
summer months when pasture quality
can be low.- Mathew says. Mathew has
been sowing Choice chicory on farm for
several years and it is now about 10
percent of his platform. This season's
extremely wet autumn has knocked
performance but Mathew has still
produced a yield of 12-13 tonnes and
had a 12.5 percent milksolid increase
when the cows were introduced from
ryegrass (compared with a 16 percent
increase the previous year). His 13ha of
Choice have allowed a 28-day grazing
round, with the cows grazing half a
hectare a day. Choice provides high
protein and high ME feed and Mathew
says his heifers did really well on the
crop because they were able to use it
so well. "The feed is there in front of
them and easily accessible. I find it
easier to manage versus turnips."
Choice chicory has been thoroughly
proven on farms and in research to
substantially improve production

both per dairy cow and per hectare.
Mathew's increase in milksolids
production when grazing Choice
compared with an all-grass diet is in
keeping with findings from DairyNZ. Lee
and Minnee (2012) found that when
pasture quality was poor (below 10 ME),
feeding Choice at 20-40 percent of the
diet can increase milksolids production
by 17 percent'. In a year with
reasonable summer moisture, growth
rates on dairy farms of around 80-100kg
DM/ha/day can be expected during
summer/ autumn from Choice. Choice
works well with the farm's pasture
renewal programme. It allows
successful control of grass weeds (poa
annua/yellow bristle grass and
browntop) and the crop can be finished
and sprayed out in time to autumn-sow
new pasture. "One of the huge benefits
we find when establishing Choice is that
there is no maintenance required as

Smartfert N.was applied down the


spout when sowing," Mathew says.
Choice is not only suited to dairy cows.
The high-quality, high-utilisation feed
can be mixed with red or white clover
and/or ryegrass to produce an excellent
finishing feed for lambs. These
specialist crops enable rapid liveweight
gain and can achieve higher lamb
liveweight gains than often experienced
on poor summer pastures.
Choice chicory is New Zealand-bred
to maximise forage production and
grazing tolerance. The crop provides
very cost effective summer protein
feed while acting as a great clean-up
tool before re-grassing in the
autumn.

For more information,
contact your Farmlands Technical
Field Officer or the friendly team
at your local Farmlands store.

1
Lee & Minnee. (2012). DairyNZ Technical
Series. August 2012. Chicory and plantain —
your questions answered. Article supplied by
Agricom

Farmlands Technical Field Officer Jamie Taplin (left) with Mathew Martelli in a paddock with Choice chicory sown into perennial ryegrass.