Forage other

There are a number of other forage options available, some of which are summarised below.


Lucerne is a useful forage option on many farms. Lucerne can be grazed or cut for hay or silage, and with the correct paddock management a lucerne stand can last for several years. Most lucerne varieties grown in New Zealand tend to be winter dormant, but provide good yields of high quality feed over the spring, summer and autumn months. As a crop, lucerne is relatively site specific, requiring high soil fertility and free draining soils.


There are a number of so-called forage herbs, such as chicory and plantain. They can be grown as single stands but tend mostly to be added to pasture seed mixes. They have a high forage value and therefore can increase growth rates and are a useful option for supplementing trace element nutrition, as they naturally have higher trace element levels than other forage species.

Forage maize

Forage maize crops are a common sight on many dairy farms, particularly in the north island of New Zealand. Certain cultivars are suited to the cooler south island climate. Forage maize is harvested and ensiled, and can produce very high yields of high quality feed. Maize silage is a high energy (high starch content) feed that can improve and maintain cow condition. The relatively low protein levels of maize silage need to be balanced with a higher protein source such as pasture.

Forage cereals

Cereals such as barley, oats, triticale and wheat can all be cut for forage rather than at maturity for grain yield. Optimal silage quality is at the “cheesy dough” stage (35-40% moisture). Forage cereal silage produces a high carbohydrate feed most suited to feeding to adult stock (when fed to young animals an additional protein source is required). In contrast, silage made from grass pastures tends to have a relatively higher protein content, and is more suited for feeding to young stock.

For more information about any of the forage crops described above or any other forage products not covered here, please contact Farmlands Seed on 0800 200 600 or email