Low summer rainfall and mild winters has led Owl Farm to earlier calving, and planting 8% of the farm in summer brassica crops. Summer crops provide valuable high-quality feed from January to March. With control of hedge mustard and shepherd’s purse (both belonging in the brassica family) being a major outcome of pasture renewal, Owl Farm uses the Cleancrop Brassica system. Paddocks are sprayed out and cross slot drilling delivers the Ultrastrike-treated seed along with fertiliser down the spout and broadcast slug bait. Regular monitoring and management of pests and disease is carried out with the experts from PGG Wrightson Seeds to maximise yields.
Watch the short videos below produced by PGG Wrightson Seeds and Fonterra FarmSource in which Tom and our expert partners provide more details of our cropping system.
Drilling and crop establishment
Transitioning cows onto brassicas
Establishing pasture after crops
Kale costs approximately $1979/ha, turnips $1747/ha and chicory $1200/ha to establish. For more details on cost analysis of crops in 2020-21 click here. Turnips and kale are fed at 3-4 kg DM/cow/day once transitioned, along with PK and grass silage as needed, to offer cows 16 kg DM/cow/day during the summer months.
Chicory is grown on a separate runoff block for only the calves to graze. Click here to find out more about Growing Calves on Chicory