Farmers facing fodder shortages could sow hybrid brassicas for late-autumn grazing to take the pressure off feed stocks.
Dermot Campion, of Germinal Seeds, Horse & Jockey advises a crop of hybrid brassica established before the end of August could provide good crops for strip-grazing in 10-12 weeks. Hybrid brassicae such as Redstart combine rapid growth of forage rape with hardiness and yield of kale. They achieve yields around 6 tonnes DM/ha from a single grazing, or sown earlier in the season yields of 10 tonnes DM/ha.
John and Marita Loughman, Tipperary Coop suppliers who farm at Shandangan, Donohill, are doing this. John has 60 cows. Average yield is 1300 gallons. “Cows still milk well if their nutrition is adequate which is where the Redstart comes into its own. It stretches the silage and minimises the need to purchase dairy nuts and protein feeds,” says John