Following on from our post about establishing fodder crops , this post looks at how to maintain fodder crops to maximise the potential yield and improve plant health. Fodder crops have become particularly important as they allow farmers to extend the grazing season, and be more self-sufficient in home-grown feed and fodder, resulting in less off-farm expenditures and potentially greater monetary returns for small and large producers. These crops tend to be planted in New Zealand during late spring/early summer ready for harvest or grazing in late autumn/winter. During the growing months using an inoculant like EM can have several benefits.
How can EM help during the Crop Maintenance Period?
Once the plant has been established EM can be applied regularly in multiple applications. The best results are generally seen when using the ‘little and often’ philosophy so that there is a constant population of beneficial bacteria in the plants immediate environment although EM is still very effective when used in limited doses. The Benefits of using EM during the maintenance phase of your fodder crop are:
- Increased yields
- Improved plant health
- Minimised impact of pesticides being used
Why Should I use an Inoculant like EM
These crops are generally high value and come under periods of disease and pest pressures during the growing phase. During these periods EM is targeted as a foliar application to crops, this has 2 main functions, firstly it creates better growing conditions and leads to a stronger healthier plant. Secondly it provides competitive exclusion, which means that it out-competes pathogens for space, by inoculating the leaf surfaces with beneficial microbes.
For more information on using EM on crops please contact the EMNZ team.