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Stackyard News Aug 06

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New Utility Brassica Can Counter Grazing Shortages

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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British Seed Houses