fodder beet for ewes and lambs

nt farm

Member
Hi all.

This may be a stupid question but if you don't ask.......!

We have a small but expanding lleyn ewe flock. For several years we have bought in fodder beet to feed ad-lib to the ewes 4/5 weeks before lambing to coincide with max lamb growth.

We have also grown stubble turnips of finish lambs through the winter. the problem is that with flee beetle ST yields are much lower and very variable. We also grow OSR in our 6yr rotation SO......

Is it posable to fatten/finish lambs by strip grazing fodder beet instead of stubble turnips. I understand you can get softer beet and others that grow with a greater % out of the ground.

Or am i barking up the wrong tree in even looking at this as a way to fatten our lambs. What other crops could be grown to do the same job as ST.

All help gratefully received.

cheers
 

spin cycle

Member
Location
north norfolk
you feed fodder beet adlib to in lambers a month out:oops:

i would think you could fatten lambs on fodder beet but once leaf has gone you'll need way to supplement protein.....trouble with beet is a/expensive b/ virus yellows:confused:
 

nt farm

Member
We split the singles away from the the twin and triplets and only they get the fodder beet. sprinkle half a bucket of beet on the grass and ewe help themselves as required. If we have plenty of fresh new grown grass they dont tend to touch the beet but if grass is delayed then the top up on the beet.

Also understand that we have lost two major herbicides and a third next year
 
you feed fodder beet adlib to in lambers a month out:oops:

i would think you could fatten lambs on fodder beet but once leaf has gone you'll need way to supplement protein.....trouble with beet is a/expensive b/ virus yellows:confused:
First time I've fed fodder beet this year, alongside red clover silage to provide more protein. The ewes seem to have done alright on it, once they got the idea. Singles are silage only, though.
 
Location
Ceredigion
Crops to fatten lambs is a subject on its own, I've done it with Fodder Beet , just rip through with a cultivator at the end to pull the last of the roots out , Swedes worked better for me , but then we had a fair acreage of Stubble Turnips as well . , I preferred to grow a variety of crops but then had the acres to do that
 

DanM

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
Wiltshire
Hi all.

This may be a stupid question but if you don't ask.......!

We have a small but expanding lleyn ewe flock. For several years we have bought in fodder beet to feed ad-lib to the ewes 4/5 weeks before lambing to coincide with max lamb growth.

We have also grown stubble turnips of finish lambs through the winter. the problem is that with flee beetle ST yields are much lower and very variable. We also grow OSR in our 6yr rotation SO......

Is it posable to fatten/finish lambs by strip grazing fodder beet instead of stubble turnips. I understand you can get softer beet and others that grow with a greater % out of the ground.

Or am i barking up the wrong tree in even looking at this as a way to fatten our lambs. What other crops could be grown to do the same job as ST.

All help gratefully received.

cheers

Fodder beet will lack protein to grow and finish lambs.
Oats and vetch will fatten lambs and not succumb to flee beetle. Or better still is oats and vetch with stubble turnips mixed in. The oats seem to “hide” the turnips from the beetles and then help transition the lambs onto the turnips- cracking feed
 

neilo

Member
Mixed Farmer
Location
Montgomeryshire
Hi all.

This may be a stupid question but if you don't ask.......!

We have a small but expanding lleyn ewe flock. For several years we have bought in fodder beet to feed ad-lib to the ewes 4/5 weeks before lambing to coincide with max lamb growth.

We have also grown stubble turnips of finish lambs through the winter. the problem is that with flee beetle ST yields are much lower and very variable. We also grow OSR in our 6yr rotation SO......

Is it posable to fatten/finish lambs by strip grazing fodder beet instead of stubble turnips. I understand you can get softer beet and others that grow with a greater % out of the ground.

Or am i barking up the wrong tree in even looking at this as a way to fatten our lambs. What other crops could be grown to do the same job as ST.

All help gratefully received.

cheers

If you Google feeding beet to lambs you will likely find some Beef & Lamb NZ stuff where they reckoned on a dlwg of 100g/day (with high Protein silage fed iirc). It will hold them, but that’s all ime.
My experience of trying it (when other feed had disappeared or drowned) would suggest the same.:(

Grazed beet is not a great ration ime, other than having huge yields at a low cost per kg of DM. Given the option, it would be far better to graze a larger area of brassicas.
 

Bury the Trash

Member
Mixed Farmer
i fattened virtually all my lambs on home'n dry treated barley and straw this year...worked well (y)
Yeah way Better than fb imo , all that dry proper
Stuff, if water is required it can come out the tap ....:sneaky:
The softer types which imo are the only ones for sheepfeeding aren't much more than pish and wind really.
Dry conditions don't suit it and ag that lambtounge spoils the growing if it, and fudges up your fence if its being grazed.

Way easier to grow sb and got the straw as well , treat with h& d or soya and fed carefully or through a 3 in one feeder and bobs yer beano fannies......well fannies are.....:love:
 
Last edited:
My experiences with fodder beet is that it is better to feed it to ewes, and better to lift it and feed out than graze in situ. This year i grazed ewes until new year on turnips and then held them for a while with fodder beet and bales and they did very well, scanned well and fat as butter. They also seem to milk well on it from having fed some early lambers on sh!t grass. I did finish some lambs on some grazed in the field but they had the best of it with the tops, and it was just a case of finishing a little group of 100 over 40kg lambs rather than growing them. I then turned ewes onto it to clear up and ran a lifter through it after that.
 
We graze fodder beet for ewes very close to lambing rightly or wrongly, find it is the best way for lamb growth and ewe milking well in our situation plus hardly any twin lamb. It is more of a holding crop for fattening though, we have had our Hoggs on a forage rape, kale mix this year and very unimpressed, I would say stubble turnips or swedes would be your best bet.
 

JSmith

Member
Livestock Farmer
Do people find swedes to be too hard fleshed for lambs to eat in autumn, are they not better suited to the ewes an turnips for the lambs??? Any body grow both together
 

neilo

Member
Mixed Farmer
Location
Montgomeryshire
Do people find swedes to be too hard fleshed for lambs to eat in autumn, are they not better suited to the ewes an turnips for the lambs??? Any body grow both together

I have done, but have dropped swedes now as too variable. Stubble turnips are softer, but less frost hardy. Swedes are harder but most hardy. Maincrop turnips are somewhere in the middle, and what I have replaced swedes with here.

Lambs never had a problem eating the swedes, they are just so hit & miss to get established, and yield is unreliable as a result. Seed is also 4x the cost for swedes, compared to Massif turnips.
 

JSmith

Member
Livestock Farmer
I’ve grown massif before and had a bumper crop but as you say get a week of hard frost an they’re mushed, do you not grow swedes at all now? What variety did you used to like for the lambs
 
I have done, but have dropped swedes now as too variable. Stubble turnips are softer, but less frost hardy. Swedes are harder but most hardy. Maincrop turnips are somewhere in the middle, and what I have replaced swedes with here.

Lambs never had a problem eating the swedes, they are just so hit & miss to get established, and yield is unreliable as a result. Seed is also 4x the cost for swedes, compared to Massif turnips.
Did you direct drill swedes when you grew them and do you use a lot more seed doing it that way rather than a precision drill, just a discussion we were having the other day, I have seen some do it into old grasses on here.
 
Location
Ceredigion
If you Google feeding beet to lambs you will likely find some Beef & Lamb NZ stuff where they reckoned on a dlwg of 100g/day (with high Protein silage fed iirc). It will hold them, but that’s all ime.
My experience of trying it (when other feed had disappeared or drowned) would suggest the same.:(

Grazed beet is not a great ration ime, other than having huge yields at a low cost per kg of DM. Given the option, it would be far better to graze a larger area of brassicas.
The tops yield of beet will fatten a lot if lambs who won't touch the roots until tops have gone , you can then harvest the roots
 
Location
Ceredigion
Do people find swedes to be too hard fleshed for lambs to eat in autumn, are they not better suited to the ewes an turnips for the lambs??? Any body grow both together
Graze the tops with lambs again the won't eat much at the roots . Then take lambs off and the tops will grow back ,
In a high rainfall area you won't beat Swedes for yield

Drill Swedes same as Fodder Beet at 50000 seeds an acre to get best yields, at that rate seed cost is very small
 
Last edited:

neilo

Member
Mixed Farmer
Location
Montgomeryshire
Did you direct drill swedes when you grew them and do you use a lot more seed doing it that way rather than a precision drill, just a discussion we were having the other day, I have seen some do it into old grasses on here.

Yes, I drilled them with a Simtech, both DD and into cultivated ground. You use more seed than with a precision drill, but it’s natural seed rather than graded, so a lot cheaper. I don’t know anyone that puts them in with a precision drill round here.
I drilled them at 1/2-3/4kg per acre, which is hard to do reliably with a Simtech, or any other drill.
 
Sorry for off topic but we are putting in 30 acres on turnips in April, plan to graze hard now then spray off the grass, DD turnips and layer is with FYM, would this work?
April sowed worked well last year but on an arable field
 

neilo

Member
Mixed Farmer
Location
Montgomeryshire
I’ve grown massif before and had a bumper crop but as you say get a week of hard frost an they’re mushed, do you not grow swedes at all now? What variety did you used to like for the lambs

I grew different varieties and they were all much of a muchness for hardness I thought. Triumph seems to have more leaf and is supposed to be higher yielding, but I can’t say that it was particularly impressive here.

I find Massif just as hard and hardy, with seed at about a tenner an acre. It seems more vigorous and faster to establish, and more reliable than swedes here.
 

CHAP Webinar - Innovative tools to overcome the challenges of Regen Ag

  • 87
  • 0
https%3A%2F%2Fcdn.evbuc.com%2Fimages%2F186160299%2F486662465563%2F1%2Foriginal.20211115-160823


Applying principles of regen ag can incur a range of on-farm challenges. Learn how innovative tools & machinery can help with these hurdles.

This event will be held online from 1pm to 2pm on Thursday 2nd December 2021 so please block it out in your diary.

About this event​

Intro
This...
Top