Forage Crops

Home grown forage whatever the crop will always be cheaper than buying in compound feed. Specialist Nutrition offer high yielding harvested crops like Fodder Beet, Sugar Beet and Maize.


Choosing the right forage crop

To determine which option suits best, we have to consider the window for growing the crop, rotation, site and intended use. A forage crop programme takes a planned approach and beginning with identifying the feed demands by month is the start of the planning process.


Crop Rotations

Forage crops provide a fantastic break crop and entry back into grass – they allow you to control any serious weed problems and will add vital animal manures back into your soil.

Maize - open sown and under cover

Maize - open sown and under cover

Maize - open sown and under cover

Maize - open sown and under cover

Maize is a high energy, high dry matter home-grown feed.

When included in diets will increase intakes and have a positive effect on overall yields and milk solids in the dairy herd but equally increased intakes improve daily live weight gain, kill out percentage and fat score in a beef production system.

Maize can be used in spring post-calving where cows have a high demand for energy, but equally as a buffer feed where there is a feed deficit situation (drought etc.)

A more consistent, cost-effective solution to a 2 or 3 cut grass silage system.

Sowing maize under cover with plastic generally costs 200€ an acre more to grow. Although it is essential in certain parts of the country, it is worth considering sowing without plastic.

Open Sow varieties are:

  1. Cheaper to grow
  2. New varieties are less risky to grow without plastic
  3. Weed control is easier
  4. More targeted use of fertiliser

So, if you have a good site and you are sowing in time, sow without plastic. Our team are available to talk you through your options

Open Sown and Under Cover Varieties

New open maize varieties deliver on fresh weight yields. On a suitable site, open sown maize can deliver equally as good terms of fresh weight yield, with newer varieties closing the gap between open and covered crops.

Open Sown Maize

  • Trooper – An extremely high yielding variety for an early harvest with high starch and cell wall digestibility content.
  • Resolute – Excellent standing power for a safe and secure harvest. Resolute’s high starch content and im-proved cell wall digestibility (60.6%) produces energy-dense maize

If you are sowing over 20 acres you should consider some of each variety.

Covered Maize

  • Konfluence – suited to a good site where yield is No.1
  • LG30 211 – Very versatile and consistent open variety

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Talk to our sales team today about how Maize - open sown and under cover could help your farm : + 353 (0) 51 833071

Fodder Beet

Fodder Beet

Fodder Beet

Fodder Beet

Fodder Beet can produce substantial yields of high-quality fodder and is an excellent supplement to grass silage.

Fodder beet is grown as a main root crop, which requires similar husbandry to sugar beet. The roots are very palatable to stock and have superb feed quality.

It is grown as a main root crop, which requires similar husbandry to sugar beet. Specialist harvesting equipment is required to lift the roots and storage is required unless they are strip grazed in situ.

Medium dry matter varieties tend to have a higher percentage of root above ground and can be lifted with a top lifter and therefore have a relatively low dirt tare. These highly palatable roots can be fed whole to stock.


Why Grow Fodder Beet?

  • Huge yields
  • Improved milk yields
  • Ideal break crop for cereals
  • Palatable and nutritious
  • High energy feed
  • Can be grazed in situ for outwintering systems
  • Clamp and store over winter

Fodder Beet

Fodder Beet Varieties

Best beets for feeding are white beets.

Choose between

  • Bangor - Bangor delivers the best fresh yield without compromising on dry matter yield. Bangor is 60% above ground, easy to harvest and has a smooth,
    clean root
  • Delicante - This white fodder beet is proving very promising in terms of yield and also has a high dry matter content
  • Magnum - Magnum is Ireland’s most popular beet with its high yields and high dry matter (19 - 20%) content
  • Acker - Very high yielding, high dry matter white sugar beet. This clean beet has proven very popular countrywide with both contractors & farmers

Feeding

Fodder beet may be fed chopped or whole. The roots have a high energy but low protein content and make a good substitute for grain in rations for dairy, beef, sheep, pigs and deer. Crops can also be strip-grazed in outwintering systems.

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Talk to our sales team today about how Fodder Beet could help your farm : + 353 (0) 51 833071

Sugar Beet

Sugar Beet

Sugar Beet

Sugar Beet

Gahan Sugar Beet is a high dry matter sugar beet, suitable for lift and pit.

This is a next-generation sugar beet with high dry matter content and very high yields. This clean beet has proven very popular countrywide with both contractors & farmers, and it has also proven its ability to drive improvements in animal performance.

Gahan has very large tops, potentially protecting the crown when harvesting late.

Bolting resistance is excellent.

Mildew and rust resistance is also very good.

Gahan is also Rhizomania tolerant.

Sugar Beet Gahan Variety

Years in trial: 3years

Colour: White

Mean Fresh Yield/ Ha: 86.1

Rel Fresh Yield: 104%

Mean DM: 23.5%

Rel DM Yield: 119%

Dirt Score: 4

% Above Ground: 25%

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Talk to our sales team today about how Sugar Beet could help your farm : + 353 (0) 51 833071

Wholecrop

Wholecrop

Wholecrop

Wholecrop

Wholecrop cereals are a versatile addition to beef or dairy diets. Cereals can produce a starch-rich forage crop that is also a good source of effective fibre, essential for good rumen function. Care must be taken to harvest at the optimum time for best results; however, the wide harvest window across the crops means this can be easily managed.

Why Grow Wholecrop?
• Flexible crop to grow and wholecrop can be produced from spring or winter crops
• Ideal year-round feed
• Low protein content means wholecrop cereal grains are an excellent and very palatable complementary feed with either grass or good quality grass silage
• Cost effective to produce
• Can be under-sown with grass seed as part of a reseeding plan
• Wholecrop cereals must be treated with a crop specific additive - Magniva Platinum Wholecrop

TRITICALE

Triticale will grow on most soil types. It can be grown as a wholecrop requiring fewer inputs than traditional cereals. It has excellent yielding potential and medium-long straw. Early to mature, has a good resistance to lodging and tolerant to diseases. Wide opportunity for harvest depending on whether spring or autumn crop.

HYBRID RYE

Can be sown from mid-September - tolerates BYDV & Take-all Hybrid Rye grows well in a wide range of soil types (light to heavy). Extremely drought tolerant. Rye outperforms wheat and barley in dry sites and dry seasons. Very secure harvest with very low risk of head losses, lodging, sprouting and Fusarium.
Generally harvested in July leaving plenty of opportunity for a grass reseed post-harvest.


BARLEY

Grows well on most soil types. Has good over-winter ability. Big, bold grain with good KP Has good disease resistance especially mildew. High yielding with good levels of starch and effective fibre. Wide opportunity for harvest depending on Spring or Winter variety. Can be harvested with wholecrop header or conventional mower without conditioner.


WHEAT

Grows well in heavy soils. Has good disease scores helping keep to planned fungicide budgets performs extremely well on both light and heavy soils. High yielding with high levels of starch and effective fibre. Very palatable forage. Can be harvested with wholecrop header or conventional mower without conditioner.

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Talk to our sales team today about how Wholecrop could help your farm : + 353 (0) 51 833071

Multi-species Sward

Multi-species Sward

Multi-species Sward

Multi-species Sward

Multi-species swards are a sustainable source of high-quality forage.

Multi-species swards produce large quantities of highly digestible forage rich in minerals and high in protein for grazing livestock. Apart from a couple of small fertiliser applications in spring, multi-species swards are almost totally N self-sufficient.

Having a mixture of grass and multi species swards on the grazing platform will ensure a steady supply of the highest quality forage through spring, summer, and autumn, buffering against drought and reducing the cost of forage production.

Key Features

  • Inclusion of red and white clover supply free N to the sward
  • Increased minerals and vitamins from the inclusion of plantain and chicory
  • Highly productive in summer and drought conditions due to deep-rooting legumes and herb

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Talk to our sales team today about how Multi-species Sward could help your farm : + 353 (0) 51 833071