Chicory - establishment and management (1-72

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Introduction
This farm fact is based on the DairyNZ trials and experiences growing the chicory cultivar Choice and grazed by dairy cows. There are other chicory cultivars available that may require different management to what is described in this Farm Fact and advice should be sought for specific recommendations relating to these cultivars.

Key Points
• • • • • • • Chicory is an herb with a deep tap root that produces high yields of quality forage from September to May. Chicory is best suited as a re-growth special purpose summer crop sown with clover For chicory to make up a third of the cows diet sow 5-6 ha per 100 cows As chicory has high tolerance to insects and re-grows it may be a more suitable summer crop than turnips In Northern regions expect no more than 2 productive years from chicory with grass under-sown in the first autumn To maximise yield avoid over- grazing – no lower than 5 cm Changes to the farm system are required to overcome the lack of growth from chicory paddocks during the winter (accounted for in winter and early spring feed budgets) and the feed gap filled either from supplements or reduced stocking rate.

Characteristics of Chicory
Chicory grows throughout New Zealand however; it is best suited to dairy farm situations where the amount and quality of summer feed is limiting production. The chicory plant has a deep tap root which supports growth through dry conditions. Due to its re-growth potential it can be utilised as a continuous crop through its active growing months September to May, yielding 13-17 tonne DM/ha. These yields are comparable to the annual yield of ryegrass pastures. Chicory is semi-dormant in the winter (June-August) and should not be grazed through this period. Grazing during this dormant period can reduce the size of the root significantly and create entry sites for fungi which significantly reduce the survival of chicory plants. Chicory has high tolerance to insect pests and provides dairy farmers with an alternative to turnips where insect damage is a problem. Its re-growth potential also provides more grazing flexibility compared to turnips. Milk responses to chicory have been measured at similar levels to turnips (40gMS/kgDM). Although chicory is a perennial it does not persist indefinitely due to fungal root diseases slowly increasing in the soil and repeated selective grazing when mixed with less desired species as shown in Table 1. Persistence of chicory can be poor on heavy and poorly-drained soils as a result of pugging damage. Many weeds, including buttercup (giant and annual), stinking mayweed, and chickweed tend to invade chicory crops over time. Chicory performs best and will persist longer when grown in free draining soils and is highly responsive to nitrogen particularly when grown without companion clover.

Weeds should be thoroughly eliminated before sowing as there are few suitable postestablishment herbicides for chicory. management can be tailored to meet the requirements of the chicory plant. Spring sowing after cultivation using a roller drill is recommended. When sown as a special purpose crop. It establishes best when sown into warm soils (12° C plus) at no greater than 10 mm depth and where there is little competition from other plants in the first three months. By undersowing. under intensive dairy cow grazing this will only be achieved under very favourable soil conditions for chicory and careful crop management. Grass/clover/chicory mixed pasture Chicory can be added to a pasture/clover mix at 1-4 kg/ha or over sown into new pasture prior to grazing in the spring. Many weeds can be controlled in the early stages of establishment with Preside™ herbicide at recommended rates. Some un-registered pre-emergence herbicides are used when establishing chicory without grass or plantain. chicory will only last as a chicory crop for one year after which it is treated as pasture. . quality summer crop. The recommended seed mix is at 4 to 6 kg/ha chicory and 3 kg/ha clover (white and/or red clover). Special purpose crop This is the recommended way to utilise chicory in a dairy farm system as it is a high yielding. Pre-emergence insecticide and treated seed are also recommended. 1. Table 1 Chicory plant density (DairyNZ trial) Month Year 1 Dec ember 2008 January 2009 February 2009 March 2009 May 2009 Year 2 September 2009 October 2009 November 2009 December 2009 January 2010 February 2010 March 2010 Chicory Plants per m2 208 177 163 78 61 64 65 42 35 37 24 14 Uses of Chicory Chicory can be grown as a pasture mix with grass and clover or as a special purpose crop. It also allows for selection of paddocks with suitable soil types and convenient location.Farmfact 1-72 August 2010 Page 2 In Northern regions under dairy grazing. Due to the highly palatable nature of chicory it will be preferentially grazed and is unlikely to persist after one year in a grass/clover sward. Some chicory crops have been productive for three or more years. Establishment Chicory is more sensitive than ryegrass to sowing depth and soil temperature. However. chicory crops are often under sown with grass in the first autumn after spring establishment. Due to the decline in yield in the second year. Over sowing suits pastures sown in the autumn that require thistle spraying in their first winter. 2. farmers should expect no more than two productive years with the greatest production is in the first year.

As a Special Purpose Crop As a special purpose crop. Best Practice • • • • • • Make a 0. clopyralid.25m2 quadrant by bending wire into a square . Aim to feed one third of the cows’ daily diet in chicory over a sustained period as the rumen requires time to adjust to chicory like any change in feed type. Chicory should not be planted following a brassica crop as they harbour root diseases which affect the persistence of chicory. It is important that the plant has a well developed tap root before this first grazing to ensure good survival of plants through the growing season. Chicory should be first grazed no earlier than the 6 leaf stage which is normally 8 weeks after sowing.g. Target covers are: Pre. except the grazing residual is higher to encourage chicory persistence.5m x .grazing 25-35 cm height Post grazing 5-10cm height Dairy cows will readily graze lower than 5 cm and management strategies need to be in place to ensure this does not occur. Estimating Yield and Feed Allowance The dry matter percentage of chicory ranges from 7-15% and hence yields can vary by up to 50% if dry matter is over or under estimated.5m Take cuttings from 4 randomly chosen sites Cut to 5cm height Bulk up. the management of chicory is similar to that of a turnip crop. Nitrogen fertiliser improves Chicory can be established by direct drilling. 4 samples and weigh Multiply by 10. Withholding periods for residual hormone herbicides (e. grazing to residuals of 1500-1600kgDM/ha. However. Management As a Pasture Mix Where it is in a pasture mix the paddock should be managed as it would be as grass/clover pasture. Two methods for allocating feed allowances are suggested: 1. establishment of chicory.000 to get fresh weight (kg/ha) Take 200g sample of fresh chicory . Grazing should be avoided when soils are wet as treading has a major impact on plant survival. If it is planned to take the chicory crop through a second summer it is particularly important to avoid overgrazing and treading in the autumn to maintain plant population and tap root size.Farmfact 1-72 August 2010 Page 3 Soil fertility requirements are as for ryegrass/clover pastures. Tordon. careful attention is required to ensure the required sowing depth no greater than 10mm is achieved and slug bait should be used. Where weed invasion is a problem chicory crops can be sprayed with 500ml/ha Centurion to control summer grasses and 50g/ha of Preside to control broadleaf weeds. dicamba) must be adhered to as chicory is very sensitive to these herbicides.

Once well-established. Red clover is an important part of a chicory/clover crop as white clover often struggles to compete against the growth of chicory. Grazing of whole paddocks may be required for the first 1-2 grazings while establishing the crop. To ensure a daily 5-6kgDM/cow/day diet of chicory. an area of chicory (about 0. as cows move quickly from their day/grass paddock to the chicory (reducing walking time to the dairy shed) and it stimulates cow appetite when they would normally have a low appetite on grass due to higher temperatures. 300-400kg/ha of urea would be needed annually to make up for the lack of nitrogen fixation. The electric wires are moved during the following day and the exercise is repeated. sulphur and potassium are the same for chicory as for ryegrass pastures.4 ha per 100 cows) should be fenced off and cows moved onto this break for 2-3 hours. back-fencing is not essential as strip-grazing of each paddock is completed within two days. Dairy Systems with Chicory The best system is to establish several paddocks of pure chicory/clover pasture close to the dairy shed. . but this can be impractical. This will give an available grazing of 1500kgDM/ha. Pre-grazing height should not exceed 50cm in the second spring. Two to four applications of 80kg/ha of urea are recommended over the spring summer period. resulting in very little grazing of re-growth plants. the amount of chicory pasture planted needs to be about 5-6 ha per 100 cows. As a guide a minimum of 25-30 plants per m2 are required to achieve a satisfactory yield in the second year (10-12 tonne DM/ha). In its second year and subsequent seasons chicory has a strong urge to go to seed (bolt).Farmfact 1-72 • • • • • August 2010 Page 4 Dry in microwave Re-weigh dry chicory Calculate dry matter% (dry weight/fresh weight) Calculate dry matter/ha (Fresh weight x dry matter %) Allocate area based on 1/3 or cows diet (6 kgDM/cow/day) 2. If there are 6 paddocks of chicory on a farm. Fertiliser Requirements Annual dry matter production is similar to high producing ryegrass pasture and maintenance phosphate. Careful management is required to minimise the number of plants that reach the reproductive stage when the plants become very stalky and palatability declines quickly. Backfencing is preferred to ensure good re-growth.optimum grazing is reaching grazing residual 5cm height after 3 hrs If cows reach 5cm in less than 3 hrs increase allocated area from 40m2/cow If after 3 hrs the grazing residual is more than 5 cm decrease allocated area. Minimum Practice At a pre-grazing height of 25cm assume the total yield is 3000kgDM/ha and the post grazing residual of 5cm will be 1500kgDM/ha. Without clover. Second year crop The decision to take a crop through a second year should be made in the autumn. For an allowance of 6kgDM/cow: • • • • Allocate area based on 40m2/cow Monitor cow grazing . Some farmers prefer to do this just before afternoon milking.

Animal Health Chicory is facial eczema safe. chicory crops have the potential to cause bloat however this is relatively low risk because most of the daily diet is still chicory in the recommended system. When grown with red and/or a safe white clover. and are therefore not suitable as a sole diet for cows. It provides a daily diet of chicory. Updated: August 2010 ©DairyNZ 2010 . In the first season. which is important as it reduces any rumen adjustment needed if cows are switched from ryegrass to chicory part way through a rotation.Farmfact 1-72 August 2010 Page 5 This system provides for a 25 day grazing rotation. Chicory is an herb and contains a high proportion of micro nutrients that may have animal and nutritional benefits. but may need to be adjusted if growth of chicory is unusually slow or fast. chicory crops can have very high digestibility and low fibre.

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