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Which Chicory Should I Sow?

There are two species of chicory that are sold domestically in Australia and both serve a purpose when utilised in the right situation. There are true perennial types which as the names suggests, have been bred to persist for 3+ years. The length of time for which they persist is determined by many factors such as fertility, pests, diseases, environment and overall management of the chicory. The growth habit for perennial type chicory is spring, summer and autumn with minimal production in the cold winter months. There are only a small number of perennial chicory varieties available that have the ability to truly persist (Puna, Puna II and Choice).

Short term or bi-annual chicory is selected out of vegetable type chicory and is therefore only able to only survive for 12-18 months. The newer chicory varieties that have been introduced over recent times have a higher degree of winter activity but are short term types. The key with bi-annual types is the rapid decline in plant population within 18 months, but also the rapid stem production in the second year for it to survive.

It is important to identify what the chicory is required to supply in a pasture system before purchasing any varieties. Understanding whether a perennial type or a bi-annual type is needed must be the initial decision which should make the variety selection a little simpler.