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Discussion in 'TFF Agricultural Directory' started by Chris F, Jan 9, 2015.
I'll work something out for you tomorrow if that's OK?
NEW!!! Conventional British bred WOSR variety.
'Broadway' OSR a conventional, open-pollinated variety - a candidate for the 2018/19 AHDB Recommended List.
Please PM for a price.
Multi–Graze Brassicas Offer Cost–Effective Solution to Forage Shortages
Adopting a multi–graze management strategy with selected brassica fodder crops can help solve predicted forage shortages this year, says Helen Mathieu of forage experts Germinal.
With the appropriate management, several grazing brassica crops offer second and even third grazing opportunities for cattle and sheep, allowing extended grazing that can reduce pressure on winter feed stocks. With two or three grazings from a single crop, the strategy also means establishment costs are spread across significantly increased dry matter yields, cutting the cost per tonne.
Crops suitable for multiple grazing currently available include the grazing turnip Appin, which is suitable for use through into November, and the cold tolerant hybrid brassicas Swift and Redstart that can be used for out–wintering. If soil fertility and pH levels are correct, these crops are easy to establish and fast growing.
“Forage brassicas have traditionally been seen as a single grazing crop in the UK, but our experience in other parts of the world with some of the newer varieties shows that a multi–grazing strategy is perfectly possible,” says Helen.
“Once the crop is well established and reaching the top of your wellies, take an early and light grazing. The key management point is to leave a good 10cm of stem, with plenty of nodes from which new growth will develop. This is best achieved by dividing the field into four and grazing each block for five to seven days – possibly less depending on growth rates – and then starting back in block one. If strip grazing with cattle it may be advisable to use a back fence to protect the regrowth.
“In hungry soils, where the first blocks have been grazed by the end of July, there is an option to top dress with nitrogen.
“Assuming your original crop has provided in the region of 3–4,000 kgDM/ha of available fodder, you can expect around 75% (2,500kgDM/ha) from a second grazing, and then as much as 60% (2,000kgDM/ha) from a third grazing in some cases.
“Bearing in mind that the only additional cost is the fertiliser, your overall cost/kg of dry matter is going to be cut by a minimum of 40–50% by adopting a multi–graze strategy.”
Helen Mathieu says that multi–grazing is an effective way of extending the grazing season and can be used with all classes of ruminant livestock, including dairy cows, but is a particularly effective method of fattening lambs.
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OILSEED RAPE HARVEST ADVANCING
Oilseed rape crops may have been delayed by the cold winter and spring, but a short flowering period and recent dry weather means they have almost caught up.
Business development manager Clive Sutton has been travelling the length and breadth of the country examining trials sites, and reckons harvest won’t be far behind normal.
“I’ve been looking at our two new varieties; Broadway and Elevation – which are new to the Recommended List this year – and comparing them to other crops in official trials,” he explains.
“While they had a late start, most crops have caught up now and there isn’t a lot of rain forecast for July, which should bring harvest forward to a more normal time. The weather has been a real leveller – most varieties look pretty similar, with the main differences being pod size and architecture.”
Dry weather during flowering allowed for excellent fertility and pollination, so the yield potential is extremely good – providing there is sufficient rain between now and harvest to allow the seeds to swell, says Mr Sutton. “Unless you can irrigate it will be in the lap of the gods. But those varieties with large pods and a large number of seeds per pod – like Elevation and Broadway – will always have better yield potential. An extra 1g in thousand seed weight equates to an extra 15-20% in yield.”
In southern England, the flowering period lasted around two weeks, while in Scotland it managed three and half weeks against an average of five and a half weeks in a normal year. “This means a lot of late flowering varieties finished prematurely, so have fewer pods,” explains Mr Sutton. “Most crops are also shorter than normal. But they look extremely well – Broadway is looking better by the week. I’m very pleased with the way both varieties are looking and am pretty confident we’re going to get good results from the trials.”
Oilseed rape also has an extraordinary capability to compensate for difficult conditions, he adds. “Those crops which are shorter will allow more light into the lower canopy which will benefit pod fill. It also means they should be easier to combine, and could be combined direct rather than swathing, to save on harvest operations.”
Cereal producers looking to introduce a forage crop post-harvest could do worse than grow the new winter hardy forage rape variety, Rampart.
Introduced commercially in 2018 by Limagrain UK, this new generation of forage rape has been bred for its flexibility and feed quality.
“Rampart is especially valuable as a forage crop for cereal producers as it can be sown post-harvest and it is ready for grazing – by sheep or cattle – from October to February,” says Limagrain forage crop manager Martin Titley. “It is winter hardy, so it can provide a high-quality feed that retains its palatability.”
Limagrain trials show that this fast-growing brassica, that can be sown from June to August, produces a fresh yield 6% above the control variety used in the trials, and 2% higher dry matter yield. It also scored ‘8’ out of a maximum of ‘9’ for mildew and Alternaria resistance.
Forage rape has an estimated growing cost of £408/ha and yields between 4t and 5t of dry matter/hectare. It has a crude protein among the highest of any forage crop of 19% to 20% and an energy content between 10 and 11 ME/kg DM.
“Forage rape is a great break crop – and a catch crop,” adds Mr Titley. “It can break the pest and disease cycle that can hinder cereal production, and the dung from sheep and cattle, plus any green material that’s ploughed in post grazing, improve soil fertility and soil health. And growers also like the ground cover on arable land which is essential over winter to prevent water runoff and nitrogen leaching.
The minimal effort required to grow forage rape is also attractive to cereal producers. Stubble can be harrowed and the seed then planted with nitrogen fertiliser applied at a rate of 40kg to 50kg per hectare. The crop is also a good user of farm yard manure. After grazing, the land can be prepared for a spring cereal crop or a grass reseed.
Limagrain’s latest forage rape trial results are available HERE.
Post-harvest cropping options can beat the weeds and boost feed supplies
The word ‘rotation’ is coming more into the fore on many arable units. And this isn’t assumed nowadays to be a cereal rotation, but one that can include grass and forage crops, especially on mixed farms with sheep flocks, finishing lamb or cattle enterprises.
“Some arable producers might go as far as introducing livestock – finishing lambs or beef cattle, and this can bring great advantages to the business,” says Limagrain’s Martin Titley.
“Forage crops or grass swards provide a cost-effective feed for livestock, but they also bring great benefits for soil health and weed control.”
Crops such as stubble turnips, forage rape, forage rye and brassica mixtures produce high quality autumn and winter feed cost-effectively.
Stubble turnips, forage rape and the new rape/kale hybrids can be sown up until the end of August. They’re quick to establish and some varieties can be ready for grazing within 12 and 14 weeks of sowing. Hardier varieties can be left for grazing over winter.
“A crop of stubble turnips after winter barley is ideal for finishing lambs. It’s ready for grazing by the end of October, and a hectare of stubble turnips will provide 40 days worth of grazing for 100 lambs. This enables many farmers to sell a crop of lambs early in the season, when prices tend to be higher.”
Rape/kale hybrids are fast-growing catch crops and there are high yielding varieties. “Interval, for example, produced dry matter yields 17% above the control in our recent trial work,” adds Mr Titley. “This makes it an ideal crop for finishing lambs or for maintenance of ewes from late summer onwards,” he adds.
Stubble turnips also make an ideal feed in the autumn with hardy, mildew tolerant varieties such as Rondo are ideally suited to grazing through winter.
“Look at some good brassica mixtures too. They can combine a high protein forage rape with kale, blended with a high-energy stubble turnip to provide a balanced autumn and winter keep with minimal effort. There are good mixtures with ‘built-in’ disease resistance, winter hardiness and early establishment advantages.”
Another catch crop worth considering is forage rye that can be sown as late as October, following maize or cereals. This can provide an early bite in spring with up to three weeks’ earlier spring growth than Italian ryegrass with yields that are typically between five and six tonnes of dry matter per hectare.
He encourages arable producers to think more widely about the choice of crops for livestock. “The 2017/18 was a long season and many forages ran out. With some careful planning, farmers can have a crop to graze right through the season.”
Breaking the arable rotation with grass leys, fast-growing brassica crops and root crops can also help combat black grass. “These roots and brassicas can be grazed off ahead of a spring crop, or ahead of a grass reseed. And leaving a grass ley down for two years or more will help break the blackgrass cycle too. These rotations can have a very beneficial impact on weed control and soil health.
“And of course, soil always benefits from increased organic matter,” adds Mr Titley. “Manure from grazing animals is slowly released and can be utilised by the arable crops that follow in the rotation.
“In many cases, breaking the arable rotation with a fodder crop or grass is a win-win situation, and one we are seeing increasingly on many traditional cereal units.”
Catch crop considerations
Look at the crops available
Tailor your catch crop and the area required to match livestock feed requirements
Look at growing costs verses feed value, a good catch crop provides a cost-effective winter forage
Looking at the varieties on offer – some are better than others in yield disease resistance and winter hardiness. UK trial results show significant differences. For example, there is a 20% yield difference between some stubble turnip varieties and this equates to more than one tonne of dry matter per hectare.