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Stackyard News Jul 06

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    Sow Fodder Crops Into Standing Cereals To Boost Yield

Fodder crops such as stubble turnips and forage rape can be successfully established in standing cereals two to three weeks pre-harvest, offering mixed farms the potential to increase efficiency and extend the livestock grazing season into early winter.

Michael Shannon (left) with SACís Donald Dunbar. Sowing fodder crops into standing cereals can give them a headstart and boost yields

Michael Shannon (left) with SAC’s Donald Dunbar. Sowing fodder crops into standing cereals can give them a headstart and boost yields

That’s according to the results of a SAC pilot study conducted last summer where a range of forage crops from British Seed Houses were sown into a standing crop of winter and spring barley.

“There’s a distinct relationship between fodder crop sowing date and crop yield - the earlier you sow the better the yield - so if you can exploit this effect by establishing a forage crop before the cereals are harvested, you’re both boosting arable field growing season potential and delivering an opportunistic low cost feed option for the livestock enterprise on the farm,” explains SAC study co-ordinator Donald Dunbar.

“The trial results show that - providing there is adequate moisture - you can successfully establish these fodder crops while a cereal crop is still standing, although the yield of forage produced is dependent on plant population and fertiliser subsequently applied post harvest.”

Michael Shannon from British Seed Houses says the study highlights how mixed farms can earn extra income from their arable fields.

“The SAC study shows how we can push the boundaries of conventional thinking and there’s still plenty of time to sow alternative brassica forages that can extend the grazing season on mixed farms, as well as cut winter feed costs,” he says.

“Brassicas are a good break crop too - with varieties like Vollenda stubble turnips improving soil structure and providing a good base for fields that are going back into cereals next spring,” he says.

link Plan To Plug Your Forage Gaps Now
link AstonEnergy Perennial Ryegrass Unrivalled For Yield And Quality
link New Environmental Scheme Seeding Guidelines

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