Need early winter feed? Get Kraken!
November 25, 2021 All Regions
Barley is a major cereal crop primarily grown for its grain, but it also yields valuable forage that can be grazed, cut for hay, or silage while still green. When it comes to selecting forage barley that meets the needs of Australian farmers, the key features and attributes centre around quick recovery from grazing, with high-performance growth come winter.
Kraken Forage Barley, a proven winner
S&W Seed Company Kraken Forage Barley is an early maturing forage barley variety that displays excellent growth during the winter months. It is suited to most grazing enterprises, offering quick recovery from grazing events, with up to six grazings per season. Kraken has been specially targeted to fill the traditional feed gap period during the cold months – and growers are singing its praises.
Lake Ellen grazier Johnathon Pietzsch was impressed by Kraken’s ability to mature well.
Jonathan and Shelby Pietzsch have been growing S&W Moby Forage Barley for the last seven years on properties near Keith and Tintinara, in the southeast of South Australia. They were keen to try its replacement, Kraken, to see if it would outperform its predecessor in their sandy/sandy loam soils.
“The Kraken was quick to establish showing early signs of good vigour, the plant tillered exceptionally well and provided cover quickly,” he explained. “We’re pleased to report that it met and exceeded expectations.”
Some Moby was also sown for comparative purposes. Jonathan observed that Kraken had a longer growth window, somewhere in the order of 10 to 14 days, and was later maturing giving increased dry matter production for both grazing and/or hay. Jonathan claimed that their livestock preferred the Moby to all other sources of fodder. He was impressed to find that Kraken has the same outstanding characteristics while also producing improved biomass over Moby, as well as leaving behind a stronger stubble base.
Growing Kraken Forage Barley
Kraken Forage Barley seeds are sown from Autumn to late Winter, allowing the grower to capitalise on its ability for quick establishment and extended season of production. It produces quick feed for grazing and is an excellent hay option for any enterprise. It is also often used to provide weed control and soil preparatory action prior to planting perennial pastures.
This winter forage barley will grow in areas with an annual rainfall greater than 350 millimetres, in well-drained soils, and is tolerant of a broad pH range. It is recommended that Kraken be grazed once it reaches the three-leaf stage of growth when it is anchored into the ground by its secondary roots.
Livestock love Kraken Forage Barley
Kraken typically boasts a digestibility of 87.2% DMD and has been reported by growers that this past winter forage barley has become the forage of choice for livestock, who typically tend to preferentially graze it over other offered sources of fodder.
In comparison, Kraken typically matures around nine days later than its counterpart Moby. However, under the conditions of repeat grazing events, Kraken does offer a much longer season of production, due to its ability to recover quickly from these events. Kraken also has improved tiller density and offers superior straw strength and standability to Moby, making it less prone to lodging.
Contact your local S&W Seed Territory Manager if you would like to get cracking with Kraken in your own grazing enterprise.