GRAZING canola varieties could be the next big craze in medium to high rainfall zones, according to oilseed researchers.
The merits of dual-purpose cereals are well known, with farmers comfortable planting early sown wheat, barley or oat crops for winter and early spring feed and then making a decision on either cutting them for hay or taking them through for grain production, but less is known about canola.
The early results, however, are promising.
Co-ordinator of the Better Oilseeds project Felicity Pritchard said that early sown canola crops had been grazed successfully, before going through to harvest without a significant yield penalty.
A joint CSIRO and Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) project into dual purpose canola in southern Australia, spearheaded by John Kirkegaard in NSW, Steve Marcroft in Victoria and Trent Potter in South Australia, found that crops sown three to four weeks earlier than normal (early-mid April through the target regions) can produce significant biomass (1.5-4 t/ha) in the mid-winter feed gap.
The canola crop is then locked up around August and taken through to harvest – the grazing reducing the biomass and slowing the development of the early crops so they come in around the same time as canola sown at the normal time.
*Extract. Full report Stock & Land, August 27.
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