Growing fodder crops is an increasingly good way of cutting the production costs on farms. At DLF we understand that each farm has its own requirements, so we provide a wide variety of fodder crops.
Or view our brochure here for catch crops and forage crops
Forage Rape has the advantage of being a very fast-growing crop suitable for grazing by sheep or cattle. It is an ideal catch crop for boosting midsummer forage production for livestock farmers when planted in the spring, and it is also suitable for fattening lambs in the autumn/winter.
Forage rape extends the grazing season in the autumn and is superb for growing livestock. It is better to strip graze to avoid excessive wastage. Forage Rape can be mixed with stubble turnips and kale to combine the many benefits of these crops.
As most crops are grazed in situ, a free draining, light loam with a pH of 6-6.5 is ideal. Forage rape has a very vigorous growth habit and is very often used in upland reclamation projects where its ability to survive and grow on relatively poor soils and exposed sites is well known.
Forage rape makes an excellent break crop between grass leys; if this rotation is used, a firm, fine seedbed is required. Forage rape can also be sown after cereal harvest where tined cultivations,
disking or rotavating will suffice. Whichever method you choose, rolling after sowing will consolidate the seedbed and help reduce moisture loss. Seed should be drilled at 6kg/ha or broadcast at 8kg/ha.
Forage rape will benefit from applications of farmyard manure or slurry before sowing. If this is unavailable, then 60-90kg of nitrogen, 25kg P and 25kg K per hectare into the seedbed should
be enough for the crop. If the crop looks ‘hungry’ after 4-5 weeks from sowing, then a top dressing of 75kg/ha of nitrogen can be applied. A high application of N can be detrimental to stock intakes.
Forage rape crops can be ready to utilise between 12-14 weeks from sowing. They are ideally used for finishing lambs or flushing ewes and can be lightly grazed by cattle. As with any brassica crop, feeding should be introduced gradually over a 2-week period. Ideally, there should be an area of grassland to allow stock to ‘run back’ onto, along with access to hay or straw and water. Forage rape is also the ideal companion to stubble turnips. The two sown together can be fed successfully with the forage rape, adding extra crude protein content and winter hardiness.
Many farmers have successfully mixed approximately 250-500g of forage rape seed into their grass seed mixtures, allowing them to be grazed while the young grass seedlings continue to establish underneath.
Forage rape can also be mixed with Italian ryegrass to create a cleaner autumn keep