Dual-purpose barley as a risk management tool for mixed livestock enterprises in Western Australia
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Dual-purpose cereals provide the opportunity to graze a crop during the vegetative phase, yet still harvest the grain at the end of the season. They can also help to spread frost risk by delaying flowering to later in the growing season. The aim of the experiment was to determine the benefits of a dual purpose barley in relation to livestock feed and risk mitigation, and whether a malting variety can also be used for dual-purpose use. A simulated grazing experiment was conducted in Perth over the 2015 growing season, using four varieties of barley (both malting and feed) with four treatments; control, early July graze, early August graze and grazing at both dates. All varieties were found to respond in a similar way to grazing with a reduction in grain yield from all grazing treatments. The greatest loss of grain yield was in the grazed twice and early August grazed treatment, with the commencement of flowering being delayed up to five weeks following grazing. However, the early August grazed treatment provided nearly four times as much vegetative biomass as the early July grazed treatment and therefore it is suggested that this treatment may provide the greatest economic benefit from including livestock grazing in the system.
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