Give the arable crop rotation a break and sow a forage crop this autumn, to help achieve better weed control and boost home grown feed supplies. Mixed cereal and livestock units are encouraged to think about growing forages on some of their arable land, as this will help weed control by breaking the life cycles of some damaging weeds and diseases.
Forage crops – and any grazing livestock – add organic matter to the soils, which is especially valuable in nutrient depleted soils. Soil structure and condition warrants attention on many arable units, and rotations that include forage crops are more sustainable in the long run.
Forage crops, such as; fast-growing brassica and root crops, and short-term grass leys, can be sown post-harvest to give a much-needed break in the cereal rotation, as well as providing a valuable feed crop.
Roots and brassicas can be grazed-off ahead of a spring drilled cereal crop, or ahead of a grass reseed. Leaving a grass ley down for two to three years will also help break the blackgrass cycle.
There are plenty of high feed value varieties to choose, that can improve livestock growth rates and performance.
Our recommendations are:
Samson stubble turnip – for grazing October onwards
Interval rape-kale hybrid – high protein leafy forage
Meatmaker and Autumn Keep brassica mixtures – contain stubble turnips, forage rape and Kale. The high protein content of both forage rape and Kale complements the high energy stubble turnip bulbs to provide an excellent, well balanced winter feed.