Cover crops for sheep on an arable farm

roseshep

Member
We're putting in more cover crops this year to carry all sheep on over winter 700 2th/4th and 600/700 REL. This winter we have been grazing stubble turnips with one mob of REL and then cover crop for the other mob of REL.
Cover crops made up of: Vetch, tillage radish, rye, volunteer cereals and burseem clover. Currently a mob of 400 lambs are eating 2ha/day!!! ouch! lucky there is so much of it! They hate the radish, it has a spiky stem, the clover never got going because it was sown late so wont be a goer, thank god for the cereals!
What i'm trying to establish with the arable side of the farm is that we need to put some bulk into the cover crops, our turnips averaged out at 2640kgdm/ha working on 8%DM and they have fed the other mob all winter and they look far better than the ones on the cover crops.
I guess what i'm asking is: has anyone had any luck with a brassica type cover crop and what kgdm/ha are you getting?
 

roseshep

Member
Can you not put stubble turnips or forage rape in with the cover crops? Maybe throw some berseem clover and oats in if you need/want more diversity?
Save a small fortune compared to above mix too I would think.
yeah i'm thinking stubble turnips in the mix for the extra bulk, they don't want to go full stubble turnips because i think its meant to be within the government guidelines?
What do you think on sowing rates?
 

roseshep

Member
Rye and vetch is the only one that seem half decent. But we do get to keep grazing it until late march when it really takes off growing. The rest don’t seem to last 5 mins.
hmm thats the problem i'm having at the moment, and the grounds drying up a fair amount right now
 

Henery

Member
Location
South shropshire
Are there CC mixes aimed at winter sheep grazing?, some turnips and kale would make a big difference wouldn’t it ?
Sheep are fairly flying across crops at the moment, looking well, poss bit to well 🥵
 

tr250

Member
Location
Northants
Can you not put stubble turnips or forage rape in with the cover crops? Maybe throw some berseem clover and oats in if you need/want more diversity?
Save a small fortune compared to above mix too I would think.
This is exactly what we grow works nicely. Would love turnips but you have to leave sheep on too long poaching to no-till in the spring
 

roseshep

Member
Are there CC mixes aimed at winter sheep grazing?, some turnips and kale would make a big difference wouldn’t it ?
Sheep are fairly flying across crops at the moment, looking well, poss bit to well 🥵
Both sheep and soil really, its my only option for winter feed so would like to find a middle ground with it. Soil expert was happy with the crops and amount left behind etc but its pretty full on electric fencing and not really getting the results out of the lambs for the amount of work being put in. I think if the radish was more palatable we probably would have better results so maybe just switching that out would be an improvement
 

roseshep

Member
Turnips don't like competion from thick cereals and to much grass , what's your avarage sowing date ?
That is concerning me a bit, we had multi species crops before and used turnips and swedes in the mix....the swedes hated the competition and the turnips where ok and that was a spring sown crop these will be sown any where from July to September ish but all dependant on the weather we get.
 
Last edited:

neilo

Member
Mixed Farmer
Location
Montgomeryshire
yeah i'm thinking stubble turnips in the mix for the extra bulk, they don't want to go full stubble turnips because i think its meant to be within the government guidelines?
What do you think on sowing rates?
Can you get details of what the exact guidelines are to constitute a ‘cover crop’, then work from there? I’d opt for a good stand of stubble turnips or forage rape, with as little else as I could get away with within their spec.

I have some ‘wild bird seed’ strips in for Glastir, and through some ‘smart radish’ in there to do a bit of free subsoiling (maybe). The radish that is there now is a stemmy, spiky plant and I’m glad it’s not in my fodder crops. At least the pheasants haven’t stripped it clean like the rest of the mix though.😡
 
Location
Ceredigion
That is concerning me a bit, we had multi species crops before and used turnips and swedes in the mix....the swedes hated the competition and the turnips where ok and that was a spring sown crop these will be sown any where from July to September ish but all dependant on the weather we get.
That be to late for swedes , but fine for most brasicas , just keep the seed rate down
 

digger64

Member
yeah i'm thinking stubble turnips in the mix for the extra bulk, they don't want to go full stubble turnips because i think its meant to be within the government guidelines?
What do you think on sowing rates?
why dont you concentrate (as these cover crops must cost something ) on your farm and your sheep- or would you like the government to tell you when and what to have for tea or how many sugars perhaps ?
 

Make Tax Digital Software Poll

  • Quickbooks

    Votes: 26 17.8%
  • Sage

    Votes: 13 8.9%
  • Xero

    Votes: 64 43.8%
  • Other

    Votes: 43 29.5%

Five nature-recovery projects spanning 100,000ha launched

  • 62
  • 1
Written by Michelle Martin from Agriland

Image-source-Savills-field-640x360.jpg
Five nature-recovery projects spanning nearly 100,000ha across the West Midlands, Cambridgeshire, the Peak District, Norfolk and Somerset have been announced by the government and Natural England today (Thursday, May 26).

This is the equivalent in size to all 219 current National Reserves.

The aim of the projects is to deliver nature recovery at a landscape scale, helping to tackle biodiversity loss, climate change and improve public health and well-being.

All five projects will make a significant contribution towards the national delivery of the international commitment to protect at least 30% of land and...
Top