The potential for fodder beet is becoming more widely recognised. Improved plant genetics, herbicides and agronomy techniques are providing the impetus for a shift toward this exciting crop. However, the unique Kiwi innovation of grazed fodder beet crops has been the main reason for the increasing number of hectares around the world.
Key points for considering fodder beet in a rotation are:
Very high yield potential, enabling smaller areas to be cropped, therefore reducing the strain on crop rotation and increasing the overall farm stocking rate
Consistent, high energy feed
Highly palatable and digestible for ruminants
Ease of feeding
Relatively low nitrogen requirement
Fodder beet seed is quite different to many of the seeds that are typically sown in pasture based systems. It is bred as two main types; technical monogerm (mechanical separation of seed clusters) or genetic monogerm (singulation by breeding).
Technical monogerm seed is produced and harvested as a clustered seed. This then has to be processed mechanically by way of rubbing or cutting the cluster of seeds to produce single seeds. This results in a seed that often varies in shape and size. The seed is than pelleted to help ensure consistent seed size and uniformity to aid with sowing. As it is a mechanical process it cannot be guaranteed that all the seeds will be singular and so post- emergence there may be double seedlings in the field. This is not a negative as both seedlings will survive and combine to yield as well as a single plant.
Download the Brigadier growers guide here