Many livestock farmers could easily make an extra £100 an acre by sowing catch brassica crops for low cost, self-feed winter fodder, says Michael Shannon from British Seed Houses.
“There's still time to sow catch crops like the new utility brassica Swift, which is a rape/kale cross that establishes quickly to deliver a extremely versatile, winter hardy, cost effective crop,” he points out
“Catch cropping is advantageous for many farmers. Sowing brassicas into cereal stubble for strip grazing is an excellent way of delivering a feed crop between November and January. You will also be boosting the growing season output of fields significantly,” he says.
“In addition, the deep rooting characteristics of brassicas - as well as the residual green matter left by the crop and the action of the grazing livestock - improves soil structure and provides an even better base for your cereal crop in the following season.”
Michael Shannon also says that stubble turnips can be sown right up until the middle of September and varieties like Vollenda have good winter hardiness to ensure palatability is retained. Vollenda also has excellent resistance to bolting and diseases like clubroot and alternaria. There's still time to sow Stego forage rape too, certainly in the South, he points out.