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Agronomic advice to assist in filling the feed gap

Forage & Root Crops

Agronomic advice to assist in filling the feed gap


Forage & Root Crops

Root and Forage Crops continue to make a significant contribution to the profitability of livestock production. They provide home grown feed, reducing the reliance on costly conserved and bought-in food, as well as recycling crop nutrients within the field for the next crop.  With the cost of hard feed rising many producers are choosing roots and forage crops to out winter stock on.

Pearce Seeds supply all forage and roots crops and our team of agronomist can provide advice on how to best manage the crop to produce the maximum amount of forage.

The current catch crops we supply are;

  • Stubble Turnips
  • Forage Rape
  • Kale
  • Hybrid Brassicas
  • Swede
  • Maincrop Turnips
  • Fodder Beet

Pearce Seeds currently supplies forage seeds and root crop seed to all of the South West, and our team of agronomist who currently support farming in Dorset, Somerset, Wiltshire, Hampshire and Devon are available to service the crop.

More information on forage crops and root crops including  is available below

Stubble Turnips

Mainstay catch crop for livestock grazing, widely grown for sheep and cattle. Generally, the bulbing types are grazed over winter, and the leafy type are summer utilised. Suitable for Summer, Autumn and Winter grazing

Current varieties

  • Vollenda
  • Delilah

Forage Rape

Suitable for Autumn/Winter grazing, and usually grown in mixture with stubble turnips. Sowings are made as soon as harvest is cleared to lengthen the time for establishment and growth

Current varieties

  • Emerald
  • Hungary Gap
  • English Giant

Kale

The long-established mainstay of Autumn through to late Winter grazing, producing heavy yields of high protein and energy feed, with unrivalled winter hardiness

Current varieties

  • Maris Kestrel - Providing high digestibility right through the winter
  • Caledonian - Club Root resistant
  • Golden Eye - Club Root resistant

Hybrid Brassicas

New introductions which combine rapid growth and winter hardiness, also flexibility of use including the opportunity of regrowth grazing Suitable for Summer/Autumn/Winter feeding

Current varieties

  • Swift
  • Redstart

Maincrop Turnip

Suitable for Autumn/Winter feeding. An earlier sowing is required to give time for root formation to take place. The spherical bulbs have a higher dry matter content than stubble turnips, improving winter hardiness.

Current varieties

  • Green Globe

Swede

Traditionally sown quite early in western and northern areas where there is sufficient summer rain High yield of palatable food with added culinary potential

Suitable for Autumn/Winter feeding

Current varieties

  • Marian

Fodder Beet

The highest yielding of all the root crops, with 40 or even 60 tonnes per acre realisable. Usually the beet is lifted and stored in clamps, though grazing in field is increasingly practised where soil conditions are suitable

Preferred variety

  • Lactimo

Listed are a selection of frequently grown forage and roots crops grown on livestock farms. For comparison a table indicates their likely yield and performance potentials. Actual yields achieved will vary greatly according to site season and fertility. Most will be grazed, others will be lifted or cut and clamped.

Yield comparison

 

Crop

Dry matter
Yield t/ac

  Dry
matter %

ME J/kg DM

 Crude Protein%

 Fresh yield t/ac

 Sowing  date

Seed rate kg/acre

Harvest

Stubble
Turnips

0.8-1.3

8-9

11

17-18

10-15

April - August

2-4

June-February

Maincrop
Turnips

2-3

8-10

11.5

15-17

25-30

May - June

1.5-2

October-February

Forage
Rape

1.5-2

12-14

10-11

19-20

10-15

July - August

2-4

October-February

Kale

2.8-4

14-16

10-11

16-17

20-25

May - June

1.5-3

September-March

Utility
Brassica

1.5-2.5

10-12

10-11

18-19

12-15

April - August

2-4

July-March

Fodder
Beet

3.7-7

12-19

12-13

12-13

30-40

April

50,000 seeds/acre

October-November

 











Outwintering cattle
With the ever rising cost of labour, machinery, buildings and conserved feeds the move to outwintering is gaining popularity once more. Critically, soil type must be conducive to the practise. The range of crops are many, but usually kale, rape and turnips or utility brassicae are grown. Situations vary too, from keeping young animals in store condition, to achieving high growth rates; dry cows; and actually fattening off high energy crops like fodder beet. Often, big bales of hay of straw can be seen left out across fields and the forage crops grown around them. They are in place then as the fences are moved across the field, avoiding tractor movements on wet ground, which reduces the risk of run off, soil wash or erosion. But equally there is ample recent experience to show that cattle will thrive on the grazed crop without the need to add further roughage, particularly when grazing kale.Pearce Seeds personnel have a great deal of experience in advising on all these scenarios, as well as practical and agronomic knowledge, which will provide positive help in achieving the aims.

Seed dressings

Protective dressings are available on all this range of seeds. Please discuss this with us. Many seeds can be supplied untreated, which is often appropriate in the right conditions. Organic seed is stocked by Pearce Seeds too; it is usually obtainable, according to availability.

 

 

Please contact us for more information:

Pearce Seeds LLP
Rosedown Farm
Marston Road
Sherborne
Dorset
DT9 4SX


Tel: 01935 811 400
Fax: 01935 816 800

Email: info@pearceseeds.co.uk