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Lights, camera, fodder

A new three-part video series has been launched by Quality Meat Scotland (QMS), in partnership with SAC Consulting, to highlight the potential of feeding fodder beet to livestock this winter.

A new guide Maximising the Potential of Fodder Beet for Livestock – Grazing where to start? will also be available and includes additional information about the benefits of grazing fodder beet, how to estimate yield, transitioning stock onto beet, and top tips on field layout and contingency planning.

Kirsten Williams, Beef and Sheep Specialist for SAC Consulting, part of Scotland’s Rural College, who features on the series of videos, details the benefits of fodder beet, which is recognised to have the potential be the cheapest forage per kg of dry matter, as well as one of the most affordable forages per megajoule of energy due to its nutritional characteristics.

“Recently, interest in the crop has increased, stemming from its potential to provide added benefits to livestock producers in Scotland, the main one being the yield potential, which is larger than any other forage crop grown in the UK.

“Other benefits include its excellent digestibility, greater weed control options available compared to forage crops in the brassica family, and the ability to grow fodder beet in rotation with brassica crops such as swedes in a livestock situation.”

 The video series and guide will inform farmers on yield assessment prior to grazing and key considerations when feeding both cattle and sheep on the crop.

Ms Williams highlights: “Fodder beet is a sugar rich energy feed that requires careful management of grazing stock. Cattle must be structurally transitioned on to the crop to prevent rumen acidosis and both cattle and sheep should be vaccinated for clostridial infections prior to grazing. This is due to beet increasing the chance of such infections due to the high sugar load in the intestines.”

Bruce McConachie, Head of Industry Development with QMS added: “The three-part video series and guide follows on from the report issued by QMS, SAC and AHDB earlier this year, which included a step-by-step approach to growing fodder beet based on data harvested from a project across four monitor farms and members of their community groups from Shetland, Sutherland, Angus, and the Lothians. 

“The new videos and guide will provide farmers with information on how to manage stock on established fodder beet, which has a long growing season – approximately 240 growing days –  and ensure utilisation of the crop going into the winter to aid their businesses and positively impact their bottom line.”

The three-part video series and guide is available on YouTube via the QMSMoo Tube channel, and the QMS website www.qmsscotland.co.uk.