Forage Rape for in lamb ewes

Jinty Mcginty

Member
Mixed Farmer
Just wondering how good an idea would be to put in lamb ewes on forage rape. Tupping is finished and normally scan at end of December. Planning to score them at weekend and put thinner ones on rape. I remember reading somewhere they should be supplemented with Iodine. However had forage analyzed last year and iodine levels were of the chart high.Maybe it would be too early to put them on and should leave nearer to the end of the year.
 

neilo

Member
Mixed Farmer
Location
Montgomeryshire
If they are settled in lamb more than 3 weeks or so (which I guess they will be from that scanning date), no you have plenty of crop, you can get them on it any time.
I tend to use my ewes to bear the grass down tight after tupping, then as soon as they’ve done that, they start on roots. Left them on the grass too long last year and some lost a bit too much condition, which they never regained with last winter’s weather. They’ll be starting beet a couple of weeks earlier this year.
 

Jinty Mcginty

Member
Mixed Farmer
If they are settled in lamb more than 3 weeks or so (which I guess they will be from that scanning date), no you have plenty of crop, you can get them on it any time.
I tend to use my ewes to bear the grass down tight after tupping, then as soon as they’ve done that, they start on roots. Left them on the grass too long last year and some lost a bit too much condition, which they never regained with last winter’s weather. They’ll be starting beet a couple of weeks earlier this year.
Yeah we had same problem last year ,scanned them first week in January quite a few were in very poor condition and never regained it . Told a story at lambing time with less milk , usually foster triplets straight onto singles but they were struggling feeding one :(
 

JD-Kid

Member
it's a chemical reaction with rapes etc that lower iodine levels in stock even a oral iodine drench before going on and another one pre lamb will help out alot
if soft and gutless some hay or good straw. at same time will help them alot while on it
can be quite high in Ca and can lead to a few probs if taken off and put on a low Ca diet
 

Bruce Almighty

Member
Mixed Farmer
Location
England
We have 25 acres of forage rape that we plan to graze in-lamb ewes on from Feb 1st (working around shooting landlord)
They should run back onto old pasture, if we don't over-graze will it re-grow in April / May for another graze ?
 

neilo

Member
Mixed Farmer
Location
Montgomeryshire
We have 25 acres of forage rape that we plan to graze in-lamb ewes on from Feb 1st (working around shooting landlord)
They should run back onto old pasture, if we don't over-graze will it re-grow in April / May for another graze ?
Any stems will shoot as soon as it comes warm, any time from mid-Feb/early March most years, but it will grow like billy O as it tries to bolt up a flowering shoot. It will provide a good bit of keep, but I'm not sure that the feed value will be quite as good. Certainly any turnip bulbs will lose value, as they are doing what they are supposed to do, pushing up nutrients to the flowering stem, but that's not an issue with rape I guess.

I wouldn't get too hung about having much of a run back. IME it just makes for a way to get them caked in mud if they go back & forth through a gateway.
 

hally

Member
Location
cumbria
Any stems will shoot as soon as it comes warm, any time from mid-Feb/early March most years, but it will grow like billy O as it tries to bolt up a flowering shoot. It will provide a good bit of keep, but I'm not sure that the feed value will be quite as good. Certainly any turnip bulbs will lose value, as they are doing what they are supposed to do, pushing up nutrients to the flowering stem, but that's not an issue with rape I guess.

I wouldn't get too hung about having much of a run back. IME it just makes for a way to get them caked in mud if they go back & forth through a gateway.
Spot on, we have had to abandon our run back this week as the gateway of a pretty dry field next to our turnips, has got so bad some of the lambs would not go through
Been some rain here the last few weeks 😪
 
had forage analyzed last year and iodine levels were of the chart high.


That means very little with brassicas if their SMCO (sulphur compounds) levels are high. This SMCO binds ALL TEs into insoluble state to be excreted. Some iodine may get through for absorption down further in the gut. Blood levels will indicate what is in the animals system, not what is in the brassica plant.
 

Jinty Mcginty

Member
Mixed Farmer
How long could you leave the ewes on the forage rape before a blood test would give a meaningful result and would it be better to offer them hay along with the rape
Thanks
 
How long could you leave the ewes on the forage rape before a blood test would give a meaningful result and would it be better to offer them hay along with the rape
Thanks

Blood iodine levels can be largely influenced by how much is stored in the thyroid glands from the pre brassica grazing. I guess after 3 weeks you should get an idea. Do discuss with your vet treatment options to include length of protection. When testing ask your vet to include a Heinz Body count (dead red blood corpuscles) as these data will indicate the SMCO levels of the crop. If they are low you will have no worries, as that means your brassica crop is low in SMCO, hence TEs will not all be bound up and mainly available to the animals.

There are low SMCO options across the brassica species as plant breeders have this on their list of traits to achieve, especially for sheep grazing. High rates of high % S fertilisers should be avoided when sowing brassicas for sheep grazing. Top up the soil S levels to promote clover production when sown back into permanent pasture.

I would recommend hay along with the rape at all times to offer more fibre especially when leaf is the main part of the diet. Hay or silage would lower the concentration of SMCO in the rumen allowing more TEs to escape being bound up.
 

Jinty Mcginty

Member
Mixed Farmer
Blood iodine levels can be largely influenced by how much is stored in the thyroid glands from the pre brassica grazing. I guess after 3 weeks you should get an idea. Do discuss with your vet treatment options to include length of protection. When testing ask your vet to include a Heinz Body count (dead red blood corpuscles) as these data will indicate the SMCO levels of the crop. If they are low you will have no worries, as that means your brassica crop is low in SMCO, hence TEs will not all be bound up and mainly available to the animals.

There are low SMCO options across the brassica species as plant breeders have this on their list of traits to achieve, especially for sheep grazing. High rates of high % S fertilisers should be avoided when sowing brassicas for sheep grazing. Top up the soil S levels to promote clover production when sown back into permanent pasture.

I would recommend hay along with the rape at all times to offer more fibre especially when leaf is the main part of the diet. Hay or silage would lower the concentration of SMCO in the rumen allowing more TEs to escape being bound up.
Thank you for the very detailed and informative reply it seems to be quite a complex subject.As i said previous we did a forage analysis of the grass fields after having a poor lambing and the only stand out was the iodine levels which was the highest
Blood iodine levels can be largely influenced by how much is stored in the thyroid glands from the pre brassica grazing. I guess after 3 weeks you should get an idea. Do discuss with your vet treatment options to include length of protection. When testing ask your vet to include a Heinz Body count (dead red blood corpuscles) as these data will indicate the SMCO levels of the crop. If they are low you will have no worries, as that means your brassica crop is low in SMCO, hence TEs will not all be bound up and mainly available to the animals.

There are low SMCO options across the brassica species as plant breeders have this on their list of traits to achieve, especially for sheep grazing. High rates of high % S fertilisers should be avoided when sowing brassicas for sheep grazing. Top up the soil S levels to promote clover production when sown back into permanent pasture.

I would recommend hay along with the rape at all times to offer more fibre especially when leaf is the main part of the diet. Hay or silage would lower the concentration of SMCO in the rumen allowing more TEs to escape being bound up.
Thank you for the very detailed and informative reply. As I said in a previous message following a poor lambing we carried out a forage analysis on the grazing fields the ewes were running over and the only stand out was the iodine levels which was at the highest level they had ever recorded.
Moving on from that results we split our ewes into 5 batches before tupping
Batch 1 control no treatment
Batch 2 slow release TE bolus no iodine
Batch 3 slow release TE bolus with iodine
Batch 4 well known chelated TE drench
Batch 5 ad-lib fertility bucket
We split our replacements 5 ways and rotated them around the different fields and Tups so as to not skew the results.
The scanning results were an eyeopener results peaked at 208% on the control !! with the worst being the slow release TE bolus with no iodine at 167% the complete opposite to what I was expecting.How can you make any sense out of that. Our local vet said people get hung up on TEs when you should be concentrating on getting basic husbandry correct with TEs only tinkering around the edges for getting the last few % squeezed out of them,which now I tend to agree with
 

Attachments

neilo

Member
Mixed Farmer
Location
Montgomeryshire
Thank you for the very detailed and informative reply it seems to be quite a complex subject.As i said previous we did a forage analysis of the grass fields after having a poor lambing and the only stand out was the iodine levels which was the highest

Thank you for the very detailed and informative reply. As I said in a previous message following a poor lambing we carried out a forage analysis on the grazing fields the ewes were running over and the only stand out was the iodine levels which was at the highest level they had ever recorded.
Moving on from that results we split our ewes into 5 batches before tupping
Batch 1 control no treatment
Batch 2 slow release TE bolus no iodine
Batch 3 slow release TE bolus with iodine
Batch 4 well known chelated TE drench
Batch 5 ad-lib fertility bucket
We split our replacements 5 ways and rotated them around the different fields and Tups so as to not skew the results.
The scanning results were an eyeopener results peaked at 208% on the control !! with the worst being the slow release TE bolus with no iodine at 167% the complete opposite to what I was expecting.How can you make any sense out of that. Our local vet said people get hung up on TEs when you should be concentrating on getting basic husbandry correct with TEs only tinkering around the edges for getting the last few % squeezed out of them,which now I tend to agree with
Are you on the coast by any chance, giving the high Sodium and Iodine levels?

Having seen similar here, the stand out thing to me there (apart from high I and Na, which are both on the floor here) would be the very high Molybdenum level. I have similar levels here and, if I don't supplement with copper, see massive problems in terms of growth and fertility, to the extent of losing lambs with copper deficiency. Blood results are practically worthless for copper btw, I was losing lambs with Cu deficiency at the same time as their blood levels were coming back as OK.

On your last point, getting the basics of energy & protein right is of course important, but with TE deficiencies those basics don't translate into condition score, or growth & performance. I can have lambs with great genetic potential here that are rotationally grazed to ensure they have 24/7 access to grass in it's most nutritive state, but going backwards in condition. Performance is always capped by the most limiting factor, whether that's energy, protein or any of the fundamental trace elements required. In a good grass growing area like this, I am more often limited by trace elements unless I supplement specific ones. I have a few neighbours that tell me they don't have a problem with trace elements at all and don't need to supplement, but their hedgerows are generally strewn with white buckets from the cattle mineral licks that are out to the sheep all year round.
 

Guide your way through spring agronomy decisions

  • 142
  • 0
The incessant and extreme wet conditions are now presenting huge challenges for every farm’s spring agronomy and cropping decisions.

Plans are being urgently reevaluated and rejigged to set priorities for treatment, with a watchful eye on deadlines for timely spring crop establishment when a window allows. And all against a backdrop of potential damage to soil structure to fields from traveling in waterlogged conditions.

1614597288695.png

Lessons learned from last year have proved invaluable, with the latest Syngenta Spring Guide giving an insight into some of the tips and ideas to help with this season’s decisions...
Top