Back to Extension, training & tools

Adopting accelerated beef finishing systems using grazed fodder beet crops

Project start date: 01 May 2018
Project end date: 14 October 2022
Project status: Completed
Livestock species: Grass-fed Cattle, Sheep, Lamb
Relevant regions: Victoria
Site location: North east Victoria


The Enhanced Producer Demonstration Site (EPDS) concept was developed in 2014 as a partnership between Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA) and Agriculture Victoria. The partnership brings the benefits of integrating with Agriculture Victoria’s  BestWool/BestLamb and BetterBeef network of producers and groups receive assistance from Agriculture Victoria extension staff throughout the demonstrations including monitoring, evaluation, reporting and communication.

This project comprised of two parts. Firstly, the completion of a suite of eight (Phase 1) demonstrations that commenced in 2014, and secondly, a further seven (Phase 2) demonstrations, established through an expression of interest (EOI) process that commenced in 2018 / 19. 

This EPDS project is investigating increased per hectare beef production by filling the late autumn/early winter feed deficit using high yielding, high quality fodder beet crops.


The autumn/winter feed gap remains a real challenge for beef producers in the North East and Upper Murray regions of Victoria.  Many group members of the Mudgegonga and Upper Murray Better Beef groups had seen fodder beet being used to fill a similar feed gap while on farm tours to Tasmania.

To assess the suitability of fodder beet for use on local farms, a series of demonstration crops were planted on three farms.  Crop performance was monitored from germination through to grazing, with plant weight and numbers used to estimate crop biomass (t DM/ha). 

Total DM production was then used to calculate cost of production.  All three sites had low plant establishment rates (averaging 48,000 - well below the anticipated 85,000 plants per ha).  Low plant densities coupled with low plant weights at two sites resulted in unprofitably low DM/ha – both sites were characterised by high amounts of summer weeds.  One site performed better with greater plant weights driving higher yields.  High establishment costs ($3,165/ha) made two of the three crops unprofitable.  A 12.2 t DM/ha fodder beet crop was required to break even with a 6 t DM/ha millet crop. 

Under the tested conditions, it is unlikely that fodder beet will play a meaningful role in filling the autumn/winter feed gap in the North East/Upper Murray regions of Victoria. 

EPDS Phase 2 is now complete, the program final report and individual project reports will be published on the MLA website in the near future.

Get involved

Contact the PDS facilitator:

Nick Linden