General Principles of Fodder Beet Transition

a) Measure your yield accurately - once you know the yield/ha (i.e. 25 tonne/ha crop), you can calculate your yield per square (two rows per metre square) and yield per linear row metre. This would be 2.5kgDM/m2 and 1.25kgDM/linear row metre respectively.

b) Allow at least 1 linear metre/cow at the crop face and at least 5m2 of turning room in the first break.

c) Either drop wires on the permanent fence in the first break to allow a bigger area of scrape bulbs with a front end loader (and feed in paddock or stock pile) to create a headland.

d) Best to calculate offering in linear metres to be fed, i.e. if offering 3kg a cow from a 30 tonne crop this would be 2 linear metres or 1 square metre. To be accurate you will have to offer part rows - i.e. your live strand will have a dog leg in it at some point.

e) Cows will comfortably graze 18 inches under a single strand wire. Make sure that the wire sits back 12 inches from the row you are looking to graze. It must be very high voltage!

f) Always feed your supplement or grass first and give a gap of 2hrs before shifting onto break.

g) For the first couple of days drive over bulbs with tractor tyres to break up bulbs to get cows eating it.

h) Start at 1-2kgDM/day and increase intakes by 1kgDM every second day until transitioned (7kgDM). This takes a minimum of 14 days. Once cows have reached intakes of 7kgDM FB they are unlikely to suffer acidosis but further intakes up to 10-11kgDM total (ad-lib) must still occur at 1kg every second day.

i) Lactating cows (500kg) in most situations should max out at 5kgDM/day of fodder beet (start at 1-2kg). Larger breeds may get up to 6kgDM.

j) If you are going to get acidosis this tends to occur at days 7-10!! It is critical to remain restrained with allocation over this time. Do not let beet bulbs accumulate while still shifting breaks forward.

Once cows have got above 10kgDM/day and looking to ad-lib feed there should be 15-20% of beet left from the previous day when shifting wire and about 5% from the previous day before that. Cows will always eventually clean this up.