Valuable Quick Feed with Compass Chicory
October 6, 2022 All Regions
Pictured above: Graham Walker with Maggie and Ruby inspecting the regrowth on the Compass Chicory 12 days after topping
S&W Compass Chicory has filled a significant feed gap on the dairy property of Graham Walker, at Orbost, in the East Gippsland region of Victoria. Mr. Walker has 300 hectares of usable grazing land on his property and will utilise ryegrass based pastures through the winter and spring period.
The most challenging time to grow pastures is during summer when ryegrass pastures stop producing and there are few other options. “We’ve got very light soils and are virtually grass negative from late November through February,” Mr Walker said. “We wanted something that would provide grazing options and have a deeper taproot to access moisture from further in the soil profile.”
In the spring of 2020, Mr. Walker planted three different chicory varieties including S&W Seed Company Compass Chicory. “The Compass really surprised us,” Mr. Walker said. “It jumped out of the ground and was better than the others.”
The summer of 2020/21 brought little rainfall early on and not much follow-up rain, yet Compass performed well despite these challenging conditions. “I was impressed with how Compass grew and recovered after grazing,” Mr. Walker said. “The cows love it, they eat it to the ground!”
Mr. Walker’s enterprise milks a split calving herd of Friesian and cross-bred cows and requires quality grazing options throughout the year. As a result of the success of Compass chicory in the spring trial, Mr. Walker incorporated Compass into a pasture mix with red and white clovers in autumn. The clovers thrived alongside the chicory, adding nitrogen to the soil and providing additional protein for grazing.
As a result of the better season conditions in autumn and winter of 2021, Compass performed exceptionally well. “I couldn’t be happier with it,” Mr. Walker said.