Trying out fodder beet – John van der Goes

It’s past time I updated you on what’s happening here.

JVG calves4Calving has been probably the easiest one we have done for a long time. Not many metabolic issues, very few mastitis cows, and the heifers were the best to break in ever. Hardly any kicked, and if they did it was half-hearted and only for a milking or two. I’m not sure why it was like that, but I would like to know so we can repeat it next year. If you couple that with the weather on the whole being dry, calving seemed to be stress free and go by without too much trouble.

JVG pumpWe are still dealing with water issues however. The new filter is in and working well producing lovely clear and clean water. But the water coming out of the taps is not so nice. So one of my next jobs is to drain and clean out the tank so it won’t taint our water. Not really looking forward to it as there is a lot of messing around to do so that the cows, cowshed plus houses can still have water.

I have just decided (yesterday) that we will plant fodder beet this year instead of chicory, the reason being that we will get a greater yield from fodder beet – 24t/ha instead of 8t/ha with chicory. This means I can plant two paddocks instead of three, giving an extra paddock of grass. Another deciding factor was being able to use the fodder beet paddock as a stand-off area to prevent over grazing. If we can do the job properly, and get the results others have, fodder beet looks like a really good prospect for the dry summers that seem to be coming regularly at present.

My off farm activities have been somewhat curtailed over calving – limited to SMASH and Dairy Push meetings. With just the tail-enders left I am starting to dream about things like getting back on my bike and fishing with the kayak, so hopefully these things will happen soon and those pesky jobs that have to be done will disappear.


  • Have thought the same re the Fodder beet but the transition period is quite long..both starting and finishing the crop, so ive read and been told. Turnips here again we average 15t/ha

    • I’m told he lead in time is about 10-14 days figured that won’t be to bad as we will try to start in early before they need too much. Also cows need a reasonable amount of fibre with the crop. Haven’t heard about a finishing transition but I hope to have enough to get through to when we have enough grass again so it should take care of itself. But I will ask my advisor about that.
      Cheers John

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