11 Feb 2010

New forage crop liked by farmer

12:46 pm on 11 February 2010

A Manawatu dairy farmer is singing the praises of a new type of forage which he believes is cheaper than palm kernel and more beneficial for his animals.

Alkalage can be made from a variety of arable crops such as wheat, mazie, barley and sorghum, and is more commonly used in Australia and the United Kingdom.

Instead of just using the grain or straw, the whole plant is harvested and is mixed with special pellets that cure it over six weeks.

Clinton Oliver, who milks 170-cows on his farm north of Foxton during winter, thinks ensuring the animals have the right levels of protein and fibre in their diets over the winter, will be made easier by using the alkalage crop. It will be mixed with maize and molasses.

He intends to buy more next season.