Winter crops offer a significant potential feed source that can provide improved returns for a mixed farming business, especially if grain yield is preserved or enhanced. However many farmers only consider grazing of crops out of necessity (in a poor season) rather than as a standard practice, suggesting a lack of confidence that this can be successfully practiced year after year.
A significant amount of work on grazing crops has been undertaken through Grain and Graze and there is now a much better understanding of how to graze to reduce the risk of grain yield loss in cereals and canola. Other concerns about increasing weed numbers and damaging soil structure have also been investigated.
Yet despite nearly a decade of investigation and promotion of grazing crops, our feeling is there is much less grazing than the potential. Further understanding of the attitudes of growers and advisors is required to improve the targeting of the extension message, as well as specific research into why losses are sometimes experienced even when the ‘rules’ are followed.
Key information on this theme can be accessed here.