Finding more profit from fodder beet

20 March 2017

Fodder beet growers should be able to manage their crops more profitably thanks to new information from recent field trials.

The expansion of the dairy sector has led to increased demand for specialist forage crops, such as fodder beet, yet, according to scientists at Plant & Food Research, there are knowledge gaps among growers in best practice for establishing the crop, managing disease pressures and applying fertiliser, all of which result in poorly performing crops.

To help growers optimise yield and quality while minimising input costs, Plant & Food Research scientists are touring the country as part of the recently established Fodder Beet Agronomic Solutions research programme (FBAS).

The aim is to upskill growers by presenting the latest findings in fodder beet crop management and provide guidelines on the effects of nitrogen, potassium and boron fertiliser on crop health, as well as give advice on monitoring for pests and diseases.

“We’ve found that farmers are getting conflicting advice on best practice for establishing these crops and managing fertiliser inputs relative to soil type and climate. As a result, most crops are yielding less than their potential,” says Plant & Food Research forage systems scientist Dr John de Ruiter.

“Fodder beet is an excellent feed crop and its popularity is expanding as farmers find new applications, but increased production means extra disease pressure and weed issues.”

Plant & Food Research has been conducting field trials around the country as part of FBAS. The findings will be presented to farmers and other industry professionals, with the first of the six events in Cambridge, Waikato on March 22, 2017 and the final event to be held in Chatton North, Southland on 13 April 2017. 

FBAS is a three-year programme bringing together specialists from across the industry, and is funded by the Ministry for Primary Industries Sustainable Farming Fund, the Foundation for Arable Research (FAR), Beef + Lamb NZ, DairyNZ, Ballance Agri-Nutrients, Ravensdown, Seed Force, Agricom, DLF Seeds NZ, Agriseeds, Cropmark Seeds, Bayer Crop Science and the South Island Dairying Development Centre (SIDDC).

“In the final year of the project, we will provide growers with comprehensive technical modules with information on crop agronomy and production systems to boost profitability within nutrient limits, as well as hold additional demonstrations hosted by leading fodder beet growers,” says Dr John de Ruiter.

For information on specific dates and location for the field events, please contact John de Ruiter

Emma Timewell
Communications Manager, Corporate Communications,
Plant & Food Research Mt Albert,
120 Mt Albert Road, Sandringham
Auckland, 1025, New Zealand
Telephone: +64-9-925 8692
Mobile: +64-21-2429 365

Copyright © 2018 The New Zealand Institute for Plant and Food Research Limited