Livestock reaching new performance levels

Picture above: Will Combe and father Phil Combe in a paddock of the new Timok Vetch at Crystal Brook

For Phil Combe, a mixed enterprise farmer just south of Crystal Brook in the Mid North of SA, the new Timok vetch plays a huge role in the future profitability of his farm moving forward.

Phil farms with his two sons Will and Campbell, their enterprise consists of a cropping rotation as well as a self-replacing 1,000 head merino flock. For years Phil has grown vetch, “Vetch has been an important part of our farming system, we use it as a break crop and as feed for our livestock” Phil explained.

Previously, other varieties of vetch were used but their hard-seeded nature and low winter vigour allowed room for improvement. This season 24 hectares was sown to Timok late in the program at 40 kilograms per hectare, which will be harvested. “The Timok has been very impressive, it will be a good fit for our business, replacing the current variety Rasina” declared Phil.

In next year’s rotation Timok will be sown with a companion cereal for early feed. This year the Timok exhibited good winter growth competing with weeds achieving canopy closure before the other varieties “the benefit is there for everyone to see” said Phil. “We can clean our grass weeds setting us up for next year’s crop, we are improving soil fertility fixating N as well as maintaining condition of our stock.” Phil also mentioned intent to investigate Timok hay as a replacement option to plug the autumn feed gap “It allows us to explore more alternatives given the feed we can now grow”

timok vetch

Timok Vetch at Crystal Brook, SA

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