Particularly impressive is Robbos, a variety that has particularly high dry matter yields. The data shows that Robbos has a dry matter yield 7% higher than the control variety Kyros which amounts to an additional 1.2 tonnes of dry matter per hectare. Robbos also has one of the lowest dirt tare scores among the 11 varieties in the trial, and it has the largest leaf size which allows for easier harvesting with leaf lifting machinery.
“These features of Robbos bring two advantages,” says Limagrain forage crop specialist Martin Titley. “The large leaf can provide additional valuable feed, and the low dirt stare reduces the risk of soil contamination and milk taint. It is an ideal variety for first time fodder beet growers as it is robust and produces consistent yields.”
The deeper rooted variety Blizzard also has a dry matter yield on par with Robbos and the trial data showed that it has a higher dry matter content of 22.7%. Blizzard is suitable for lifting with sugar beet machinery.
“Overall, the trial data shows that fodder beet is an ideal choice of crop for livestock producers and especially for dairy producers who are looking to reduce their costs of production and maximise milk yields from home grown forages,” adds Mr Titley. “Yielding around 90 tonnes per hectare, this energy rich feed is an ideal complement to maize silage in that it can balance out the high starch content of the silage, and it can also help to reduce the reliance on bought in feeds.
“This latest trial data also shows the benefits of the newer genetics in Robbos that will appeal to many growers.”
Mr Titley encourages growers to use the trial results and be discerning about their choice of variety. “We carry out these trials every year, providing us with a large database of results that adds to the reliability of the data. Some fodder beet varieties are not available this year, so choosing UK proven varieties will be important.”
A video of the varieties being trialled can also be viewed on this web site.