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Cereal Grazing for Improved Grain Yield

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Video Transcript

Primarily, in this trial, we’re looking at the ability of a range of species and varieties to recover grain yield following continuous grazing up to a certain growth stage. It actually gives us a very a good grasp on how each of these different varieties can produce grain at the end of the day after being subject to heavy grazing or they would in an intensive serial sheep or cattle systems.

Grazing Barley Provides High Yields

Some of the work has actually suggested that grazing barley, I don’t think we’ve ever lost any yield by grazing barley and in fact quite regularly we pick up anywhere in the order from fifteen to a thirty percent yield increase, when we’re grazing barley continuously out to growth stage 30. It is primarily due to the fact that when we sow barley early in this environment warm temperatures, plenty of soil moisture.

It just grows very very vigorous. It doesn’t really leave a lot of moisture for later on in the year for the grain to fill. The other thing that it can do with barley is it expose the canopy to significant disease levels and also to lodging, all of which produce poorer yields at the end of the day.

This work’s been pretty consistent. Every barley variety that we’ve tested since 2005, I think, has actually produced high yields when we’ve subjected it to grazing.

Grazing and Low Performance for Some Wheat Varieties

Certain wheat varieties really don’t perform that well when subject to grazing. Some of the other work that we’ve also looked at has been looking at the effect of grazing on hay quality at the end of the day because, once again, in this environment we sow hay early and very similar problems to what I just mentioned in the barley, excessive fibre production, which is detrimental to the price you receive and detrimental to the animals that ate the hay.

Early Grazing Can Improve Hay Quality

Disease and also lodging, so yield loss associated with that. And what we have actually found is that a very early grazing can significantly improve hay quality. What these trials are really showing is that cereals aren’t cereals. Every one’s different when it comes to grazing, and if you want a dual-purpose cereal, you really need to select it based on performance within trials.

Jeff Braun from AgriLink Agricultural Consultants discuses trial work that is examining the ability of a range of cereal species and varieties to recover grain yield following continuous cereal grazing up to a certain growth stage.

Dual purpose cereal selection needs to be based on performance in trials to ensure the best commercial returns.

The Mid North High Rainfall Zone group is conducting this trial work as part of the GRDC and Caring for Our Country’s Grain and Graze Two program.

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