A common question being asked at present is this: “should I keep my chicory for a second year?”
The Agriseeds field team has seen a lot of second year chicory and in most cases it does not work well for 4 reasons.
- Keeping chicory for a second year means you will grow less DM over winter, and potentially need to buy in/feed more supplement. i.e. spend more on feed.
- Chicory goes to seed (or bolts) in the second summer. It becomes less palatable to livestock and is lower in feed quality, so it less feed value and often needs extra mowing.
- Second year crops usually thin out markedly over winter. This significantly lowers their DM yield, so they do not provide the same value as a first year crop.
- When second year crops thin out they become weedy. Herbicides for chicory are limited as to what weeds they control. Uncontrolled weeds will go to seed and increase the future weed burden of these paddocks.
In our experience it’s more profitable to spray chicory out now (after 6 months of productive growth) and sow a pasture that will grow more quality feed when you need it most.
This also allows you to put different under-performing paddock(s) in chicory in the coming spring.
Picture shows a second year chicory crop full of weeds: