Sow March – April (optimum drilling date of April)
Ideal for the UK’s unique maritime and highly variable climate, Fodder Beet produces a consistent, reliable output, regarded by many as potentially the highest yielding forage crop. Fodder beet once established has a robust and durable growth habit, combined with good resistance to disease, excellent ground cover, a broad drilling window and very long harvesting period. Soil temperatures need to be above 5°C with an optimum drilling date of early April. Once drilled attention must be made to weed control as fodder beet will not compete with weed pressure and yield will be lost if weeds are not controlled. As a feed, fodder beet is highly palatable and can be grazed in situ or lifted, stored and then fed whole or chopped. Specialist harvesting equipment is required to lift the roots and storage is required unless they are strip grazed in situ.
A minimum 6 year rotation is desirable to avoid the build-up of nematodes in the soil and weed beet in the crop. Fodder beet should ideally be grown on light to medium soils. The crop will do best in low rainfall and coastal areas, avoiding high altitudes and very wet or cold locations. Beet should not be grown on acid soils and the optimum pH is 6.50 to 7.00.
Pearce Seeds main varieties: Marian – Airlie - Ruta Otofte
A full season root crop which are mainly fed in situ, but can also be lifted and stored in a clamp. They are an excellent high energy winter feed. It is advisable to use an electric fence to reduce wastage. They do best in areas of high rainfall, so are generally grown in the more northerly and western areas of the UK.
Pearce Seeds main varieties: Vollenda - Rondo - Barkant - Tyfon - Delilah - Samson
Stubble turnips are a very fast growing catch crop that can be ready to feed within 12-
14 weeks from sowing. They are ideal for finishing lambs, or can be fed to both dairy and beef animals. The flexibility of sowing period ensures that crops can be fed from mid-summer through to January. As most crops are grazed in situ a free draining light loam with a pH of 6.5 is ideal. When planting a large acreage it is advisable to stagger sowing dates, increasing the seed rate in dry conditions. Crops sown in May should be ready for grazing mid-summer and crops sown in July or August are best grazed from November onwards.
A mixture with higher percentage of stubble turnips is ideal for sowing after winter cereals. Is suitable for post-Christmas grazing as it exhibits very good winter hardiness, which is improved by the addition of kale. Sow mid-July to mid-September. Where forage rape is the higher percentage of inclusion this mixture ensures quick establishment and higher protein yields, whilst the stubble turnips provide energy and stockholding capacity. The mixture is ideal for fattening stock and will provide grazing from July through to December. Sow mid-April to mid-September.
Later maturing than stubble turnips – growing period of 12 – 15 weeks. A white-fleshed variety that produces a globe shaped Turnip. Can be sown for grazing in October - January. Most winter hardy variety.