Increase crop yield this spring: fodder beet varieties and best practices

To achieve crop yield targets and drive the productivity of any farm, sowing the right seed for your stock is critical – especially at this time of year. One crop that we are seeing great results from over a number of farms is fodder beet, which comes in a number of varieties and can be adapted to a number of operations.

Whether you graze in-situ or lift to feed, this highly successful crop can be scaled and planted efficiently to suit the needs of any farm. Let’s take a look at four popular varieties and how to best implement them this spring.

Enermax

The highest yielding beet cultivar in the New Zealand market, Enermax consistently produces uniform bulbs in terms of size and height. Suitable for in-situ grazing or lifting with all stock classes, it takes approximately 200 days to mature with around 45% of the bulb above ground, and produces +/- 19% dry matter.

Troya

A modern cultivar that has been tested here in New Zealand over three years, Troya boasts only 1% less dry matter percentage than Enermax at +/- 18%. Taken from the DLF breeding programme, this variety also offers very good disease and bolting tolerance.

Lactimo

A mono-germ fodder beet with a yellow/orange bulb, Lactimo sits 50% above the ground and produces large tops with a medium dry matter content of +/- 16%. Subject to management and climatic conditions its bolting tolerance is very good, as is its disease tolerance.

Geronimo

A newly release mono-germ fodder beet that farmers can expect +/- 17% dry matter from, Geronimo’s origins trace back to France. Identifiable by its yellow-orange tankard shaped bulb, this variety is known for its tolerance to diseases such as rhizomania, ramularia and mildew. Versatile across various grazing applications, it can be grazed in-situ, lifted or fed whole or chopped.

Best practices

When planting fodder beet, it’s important to realise from the outset that not only is each farm different, but every paddock on your property is different too. So, while it’s possible to make generalisations about what will and won’t work, there is no one-size-fits-all answer across an entire operation.

In order to get consistent results, it’s important to set yield targets based on commercial and environmental drivers; one example being that spring is the best time to sow fodder beet. And when planting this crop, it’s also recommended to plant in narrower rows for a ‘squarer’ arrangement.

Working alongside Lincoln University scientist Dr Jim Gibbs, we found that by changing this one aspect of planting we were able to increase yield by 15-20%. To find out more, check out our blog post.

Our greatest principle when it comes to best practice, however, is that successful crop management starts and finishes with the right people. Working alongside farmers to find the greatest agronomic solutions for their operations is what we do at Wholesale Seeds, and implementing fodder beet successfully is only one part of our process. For more information on how we can work together to get the greatest return on your crop yield, feel free to contact us any time.