Feed weeds: the new harvest

Crop residues including weed seeds can be used as a valuable animal feed supplement, especially in feedlots or drought situations.

In their battle against herbicide resistance, some graingrowers currently use carts behind their harvesters to catch weed seeds otherwise left in the paddock.

An Agriculture WA project has now reported that the crop residues collected by the carts are a by-product worth thousands of dollars to farmers — as stockfeed. In harvest trials 300 hectares of wheat, barley or lupins produced enough byproduct material on average to feedlot 100 cattle for 106 days.

Veterinary epidemiologist Danny Roberts said tests showed the nutritional value of the residue was adequate in mineral levels but slightly deficient in nitrogen.

"It would take only a small improvement in the collection of small grain and weed seeds to make the crop by-product a very valuable feed source for lotfeeding sheep and cattle," Mr Roberts said.

Program 3.3.3

Contact: Mr Danny Roberts 08 9821 3333