Record fodder beet yields a prospect this year

Fodder beet is currently available, washed and delivered on farm, at prices in the region of €35/t in the south of the country, down from €45-50/t last year, according to Agriland sources.

“But in reality price is pretty irrelevant at the present time, as most farmers have plenty of grass yet to be grazed,” confirmed Germinal Seeds’ Jim Gibbons.

“And until cattle are housed in significant numbers, demand for beet will remain petty low. That said there is every indication that beet crops have fared particularly well this year. And in some areas record yields might well be achieved. In a normal year beet has the potential to deliver yields of up to 30t of tubers on a fresh weight basis.

“Beet is an excellent feed source for finishing beef cattle. The varieties which we grow in this country are particularly suited to this type of feeding system. Beet prices will fluctuate from season to season. But there is every prospect that prices could come under some pressure later this season as cheap wheat and barley come on to the market.

Teagasc’s Tim O’Donavan agreed that fodder beet yields may well be exceptionally high this year.

“It’s turning out to be a very good year for alternative forage crops across the board,” he added.

“The maize harvest is almost complete. And while it is still too early to talk about the overall yields achieved, there is every indication that the starch content of crops is exceptionally high.

“This is good news for those livestock farmers wishing to offer a complimentary fodder source to their animals this winter.”

Some parts of the country experienced their first night time frost of the autumn earlier this week. And with the forecast of a colder snap coming our way over the next few days, Teagasc is advising those growers with maize still in the field to think about harvesting these crops as a matter of priority.

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