Is it worth fattening store lambs on forage rape?

Hereford21

Member
Mixed Farmer
Last year we harvested spring barley in a 20 acre field then moved straight to winter barley in the same field. After the winter barley harvest this year we want to rotate the barley to a different silage field and grow grass on it again, but my dad mentioned growing forage rape on this field before grass, then potentially buying lambs in and fattening them over winter on it? Would that be worth doing money wise or is it risky with market prices? My dad passed away recently and I'm just wondering if anyone has any advice on this because I'm not sure what to do.
 

sherg

Member
Location
shropshire
I'd personally go winter barley, forage rape, spring barley and then grass because autumn re seeds seem to do better here and you'd get a better crop of forage rape but if you can get spring barley off early enough you'd be alright after spring barley, it's always a bit of a risk but nothing ventured nothing gained
 

neilo

Member
Mixed Farmer
Location
Montgomeryshire
Sorry for your loss.:(

Plenty do just that with fodder crops to finish store lambs. It can pay very well, or it can be a waste of time, such is the variation in seasons.

In a ‘normal’ year you might make a small amount on each, but it’s a numbers game to make it worthwhile. How big an acreage/how many lambs are you considering?

Bare in mind that a brassica crop after cereals will need feeding well with Nitrogen to get a decent crop. I would normally apply 2 cwt/ac of Nitram, which is £65-70/ac at current prices!😲
 

Al R

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
West Wales
WB, Rape/turnips, SB, break with grass/beans or anything else.

If you grow spuds some of them don’t like certain crops before, Red Clover being one of them as the root structure blocks up the Destoners and any other webbed machine.

Sorry for your loss @Hereford21
 

Hereford21

Member
Mixed Farmer
I'd personally go winter barley, forage rape, spring barley and then grass because autumn re seeds seem to do better here and you'd get a better crop of forage rape but if you can get spring barley off early enough you'd be alright after spring barley, it's always a bit of a risk but nothing ventured nothing gained
What about undersowing the forage rape with grass? would that work instead of doing spring barley after the forage rape
 

Hereford21

Member
Mixed Farmer
Sorry for your loss.:(

Plenty do just that with fodder crops to finish store lambs. It can pay very well, or it can be a waste of time, such is the variation in seasons.

In a ‘normal’ year you might make a small amount on each, but it’s a numbers game to make it worthwhile. How big an acreage/how many lambs are you considering?

Bare in mind that a brassica crop after cereals will need feeding well with Nitrogen to get a decent crop. I would normally apply 2 cwt/ac of Nitram, which is £65-70/ac at current prices!😲
It's a 20 acre field, around 150-200 lambs?
 

Al R

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
West Wales
What about undersowing the forage rape with grass? would that work instead of doing spring barley after the forage rape
Possibly but fields after green crops usually resemble the Somme, no grass or clover would live sorry to say. Depending on your ground you should be able to min till your SB in, SB would also utilise far more of the nutrients from the green crop and the lambs. From my experience you want the best start possible for a grass ley, you don’t want to have to reseed it come June when only 20% has survived and you wished you’d put barley in instead
 

Hereford21

Member
Mixed Farmer
Possibly but fields after green crops usually resemble the Somme, no grass or clover would live sorry to say. Depending on your ground you should be able to min till your SB in, SB would also utilise far more of the nutrients from the green crop and the lambs. From my experience you want the best start possible for a grass ley, you don’t want to have to reseed it come June when only 20% has survived and you wished you’d put barley in instead
So just stick with barley after the forage rape? the only thing I was worried about is that we've done barley 2 times in a row in that field, would the forage rape be a good enough break for it before planting even more barley? That's why I thought about switching a silage field to barley and growing grass back on the barley/forage rape field.
Sorry if I sound clueless about this, I know very little about crops much more a beef and sheep girl!
 

Al R

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
West Wales
So just stick with barley after the forage rape? the only thing I was worried about is that we've done barley 2 times in a row in that field, would the forage rape be a good enough break for it before planting even more barley? That's why I thought about switching a silage field to barley and growing grass back on the barley/forage rape field.
Sorry if I sound clueless about this, I know very little about crops much more a beef and sheep girl!
Forage rape or turnips definitely a good enough break and lots of N/P/K carry over too so only a bit of sugar needed on the SB. You could go back to WB after the spring barley but it would need a few more fungicides and a lot more sugar to break the take all/septoria risks, if you were wanting grass anyway then after the SB is the best time
 

Al R

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
West Wales
Btw if you don’t want the hassle of the lambs etc you could tack it to someone in the area to put their own sheep on it OR put a crop like mustard and Deep Till Radish (Dakon?) in as a green manure to soil condition and add the nutrients, but you’d be better off topping these sort of things and topping mustard needs to be done at a precise time for biggest effect.
 

sherg

Member
Location
shropshire
So just stick with barley after the forage rape? the only thing I was worried about is that we've done barley 2 times in a row in that field, would the forage rape be a good enough break for it before planting even more barley? That's why I thought about switching a silage field to barley and growing grass back on the barley/forage rape field.
Sorry if I sound clueless about this, I know very little about crops much more a beef and sheep girl!
It really depends on how many fields you can grow barley on and how much straw and corn you need or want to sell, maybe have a word with your agronomist and see what they think and run any rotation ideas past them , they're bound to of seen it before
 

Hereford21

Member
Mixed Farmer
Btw if you don’t want the hassle of the lambs etc you could tack it to someone in the area to put their own sheep on it OR put a crop like mustard and Deep Till Radish (Dakon?) in as a green manure to soil condition and add the nutrients, but you’d be better off topping these sort of things and topping mustard needs to be done at a precise time for biggest effect.
Yeah, thinking buying in new lambs might just be more hassle than it's worth. We have our own lambs so might just put them on it, thank you
 

neilo

Member
Mixed Farmer
Location
Montgomeryshire
Forage rape or turnips definitely a good enough break and lots of N/P/K carry over too so only a bit of sugar needed on the SB. You could go back to WB after the spring barley but it would need a few more fungicides and a lot more sugar to break the take all/septoria risks, if you were wanting grass anyway then after the SB is the best time
The rotation on most of my arable land is WB, stubble turnips then SB, then WB…, with the some fields taken out for fodder beet on occasion.

Back home, we double cropped SB and stubble turnips for many years. Works well, but depends on location. Turnips after SB is much more of a gamble here.
 
Last edited:

Anymulewilldo

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
Cheshire
Buying lambs only works if they are bought right and you have the ability for a contingency plan if the trade tanks just as you come ready too sell…. Nothing worse than knowing full well that you are having too sell lambs £5 below target because you’ve run out of fodder for the buggers. Bought right, fed right, done right and hitting the market with just the right goods (when someone insists weight pays, remind them about this spring 😉) store lambs pay nicely. Won’t make a fortune but it’s a nice touch. 👍
 

Is Red tractor detrimental to your mental health?

  • Yes, Red tractor increase my stress and anxiety

    Votes: 279 98.6%
  • No, Red tractor gives me peace of mind that the product I produce is safe to enter the food chain

    Votes: 4 1.4%

HSENI names new farm safety champions

  • 117
  • 0
Written by William Kellett from Agriland

Farm-safety-640x360.png
The Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland (HSENI) alongside the Farm Safety Partnership (FSP), has named new farm safety champions and commended the outstanding work on farm safety that has been carried out in the farming community in the last 20 years.

Two of these champions are Malcom Downey, retired principal inspector for the Agri/Food team in HSENI and Harry Sinclair, current chair of the Farm Safety Partnership and former president of the Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU).

Improving farm safety is the key aim of HSENI’s and the FSP’s work and...
Top