The soil pH range for chicory is very broad ranging from as low as 4.8 through to 7.5. The soil type is important when selecting a paddock to grow chicory, make sure that the soil is free draining and is not prone to water logging for extended periods of time. However, if chicory is going to be part of a pasture mix, then the other species and the soil pH tolerance will need to be taken into consideration.
The main nutrient for successful production of chicory is nitrogen. Ensure that phosphorus, sulphur and potassium are all adequate so the growth and production of chicory can be optimised. A soil test prior to sowing chicory is the best tool to understand the status of the soil fertility and correct this if needed.
There are limited options for weed control in a chicory pasture due primarily to not having any post emergent chemical registrations available. Prior to sowing, using pre-emergent herbicide is important to control some grass weeds as well as wireweed. Thistles are the most problematic weeds when growing chicory and trials have shown that Group I chemicals are too damaging.
Avoid sowing chicory where broadleaf weeds are a known problem until such time that they have been reduced significantly to allow chicory to establish without too much competition. To get information about how to manage weeds within a chicory pasture, consult your local rural retailer.
Establishment of chicory is critical as this is when pasture pests can cause damage and ultimately reduce the population. Red Legged Earth Mite is the most damaging pest to chicory. These can be managed in a chicory pasture by using an insecticide, however, it is recommended to use Ultrastrike® treated seed which contains a seed treatment insecticide to protect emerging chicory seedlings. To get information about how to manage insect pests within a chicory pasture, consult your local rural retailer.