Chicory provides high quality feed for various stock finishing systems during the spring and summer months.
Chicory is a perennial herb which has proven to be an excellent source of high-quality feed over the warmer growing season. It has demonstrated that it can produce high levels of dry matter production during spring and summer.
Chicory has exhibited good tolerance to soil acidity and has successfully been grown in areas with low pH soils where lucerne cannot be successfully established. It has a deep tap root which aids its persistence. Chicory has good disease resistance and tolerance to selected insects and, with appropriate management, can provide viable stands with sound productivity for many years.
Chicory is not a legume and for maximum production will require strategic applications of nitrogen in addition to its requirements for phosphorous and other nutrients.
In most cases it is recommended that chicory be sown with a companion legume to supply both nitrogen and another source of high-quality feed to the stand. Generally white or red clover is best suited, however, lucerne has also proven to be an excellent companion species.
Chicory offers a well-balanced ration with respect to crude protein, energy and minerals. Passage through the rumen is very rapid and sometimes the diet may lack sufficient fibre causing scouring. Feeding extra fibre does slow the passage through the rumen and gut and provides more effective rumen fermentation.
Chicory provides an opportunity to produce large quantities of high-quality feed for milk production or finishing stock over spring and summer and into autumn. It is also important to note that there are two groups within the chicory family – perennial and bi-annual.