A new rape/kale hybrid forage brassica, which combines an ability
to grow rapidly from sowing with exceptional winter hardiness,
is currently offering dairy farmers an excellent catch crop opportunity
to counter late season grazing shortages.
"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. But save your silage for when you really
need it," says Michael Shannon from British Seed Houses.
"There's still time to sow and profit from new utility brassica
crops like Swift, which capture the fast growing traits of rape
and the winter hardiness of kale with the potential to be sown
right into early autumn."
The new rape/kale hybrid can yield upwards of 10.5 tonnes of dry
matter per hectare at 12.8 MJ/Kg DM with a crude protein range
of 15-24%. The crop will mature in just 90-110 days with good re-growth
potential after grazing, provided the main stem remains intact.
Michael Shannon says that provided stock are not allowed sudden
unrestricted access to the brassica crops acclimatisation is relatively
swift. "Adapt animals gradually to the crop - preferably over
about 10 days - and provide adequate water and roughage. Follow
some simple guidelines and self-feed brassica crops really do provide
a viable and cost-effective forage solution for UK livestock farmers."
More information on Swift utility brassica - as well as other
practical systems that take advantage of other alternative forage
crops such as kale, forage rape and stubble turnips - is available
on the British Seed Houses stand at the Dairy Event.
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