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Stackyard News Jun 06

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    Plan To Plug Your Forage Gaps Now

Livestock farmers concerned about grass shortages this year still have time to plug any potential forage gaps with alternative fodder crops.


That's the message from British Seed Houses' Michael Shannon, who says the relatively late spring and drought situation in many regions of the country has left many farmers contemplating an early opening of the silage pit.

"Save your silage for when you really need it," he says. "There's still plenty of time to sow and profit from crops like stubble turnips and forage rape that will eke out your grass later in the season."

Michael Shannon says that stubble turnips can be sown right up until the middle of September. "For example, a crop of Vollenda stubble turnips sown in early July can yield around 5 tonnes of dry matter per hectare, which can easily finish 50 to 70 lambs just when grass is falling away. And sowings in August/September will deliver a feed crop between November and January when its good winter hardiness ensures palatability is retained.

"What's more, varieties like Vollenda have excellent resistance to bolting and diseases like clubroot and alternaria," he adds.

"Catch cropping is advantageous for many farmers. In addition to boosting field forage output, 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 grass sward or cereal crop next year," he says.

link AstonEnergy Perennial Ryegrass Unrivalled For Yield And Quality
link New Environmental Scheme Seeding Guidelines
link Costs Hit Cereal Farmers Hard As Production Falls Again

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