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For the Future of Farming
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22-06-2017

Grow more protein

Afbeelding: Cow image from roots leaflet

Growing and feeding high protein forage crops, such as brassicas, can make livestock production more profitable and sustainable, according to ForFarmers’ Mel Digger. “Many crops offer more than 15% crude protein and a key advantage is the feed cost reduction, due to reduced reliance on bought-in sources.

Brassicas are a good break crop option in grassland reseeding programmes, particularly for reducing the risk of leatherjackets and frit fly. They also provide a short-term solution when short of forage and are useful for outwintering stock.

Sowing hybrid brassicas in the summer can produce quality forage crops, yielding between five and seven tonnes of dry matter per hectare, in just 12 weeks. Although many of the forages are grazed and utilised in situ, the recommended inclusion rate in the diet should be between 35% and 60% of the total dry matter intake.

With more emphasis on homegrown forage, there are benefits to selecting the most suitable higher yielding crops with high feed values. Root mixtures of forage rape and stubble turnips are fast growing catch crops, which provide high protein (between 17% and 20%) and good energy, at 11MJ/kgDM. And many forage crops extend the growing season, in both spring and autumn, and this further reduces costs and improves profitability.

For more information and to check out the ForFarmers Root Crop range click here