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Kraken Forage Barley Q&A

June 9, 2021 by SW Seed Company

In this Q&A, Tom Damin, S&W Pasture Research Lead Australia and Rehn Freebairn, S&W Territory Manager, discuss the newly released variety S&W Seed Company Kraken Forage Barley.

Tell us about your experience with Kraken Forage Barley
Tom Damin (TD): I have been working on Kraken for about eight years, since we made early selections, and it has always stood out from the rest, it is fantastic to see it finally being released this year!
Rehn Freebairn (RF): I have seen a lot of excitement about Kraken in the market so far, and from what I have seen in trials and paddocks, it’s impressive.

What are the key features of Kraken?
TD: Winter production! This variety bolts out of the ground and delivers winter feed when other cereals like oats will be in a slump. It can be sown late into the season and still produce quick feed.
RF: The capacity of Kraken to hold on later in the season, on top of its early winter production has been a real highlight for me.

What sort of conditions does Kraken perform the best in?
TD: Any conditions. Kraken is a highly adaptable variety, and its early maturity make it suitable for any rainfall region for a winter crop.
RF: Kraken can deliver timely feed in just about any conditions, winter dominant rainfall areas in particular.

Is Kraken versatile in its use?
TD: Yes, Kraken produces many tillers, giving it both good grazing recovery as well as a fine stem characteristic perfect for highquality hay production.
RF: It can perform in operations as diverse as export hay production, requiring specific quality parameters, to intensive grazing operations with high stocking rates and short recovery periods.

What is the potential for Kraken?
TD: The potential is immense, particularly in making the most of moisture availability during short growing seasons. Its ability to establish and produce early can fill feed gaps in many operations, and home-grown feed is always invaluable.
RF: Kraken has huge potential to grow a lot of forage, but its ability to be sown late and still deliver allows for key management opportunities, such as the ability to achieve pre-emergent weed control after a breaking rain, and its vigour to physically compete with problem weed species.

Are there any issues for growers using Kraken?
TD: Sowing Kraken early while soil temperatures are still high will result in the variety going to head prematurely. Do not sow Kraken before mid-April in most growing regions unless you are prepared for a very early grazing or finish.
RF: Keeping up with the growth rates! When Kraken starts producing, you need to get stock on to it quickly to encourage that early tiller production.

Would you recommend growers give it a go?
TD: Definitely. It can be grazed or cut for hay, and will suit most operations involving livestock production. I would expect anyone would be impressed!
RF: For anyone that has used a forage barley or is looking for more winter production, definitely look to this new variety, it’s a Kraken good one!

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