Redstart hybrid brassica offers the highly beneficial combination of rapid growth ability and high-quality winter feed.
Redstart is a cross between kale and forage rape. The forage rape genes give it the ability to grow quickly while the kale genes deliver excellent winter hardiness.
Sowing Redstart hybrid brassica
Redstart is mainly used as a high-energy protein crop for outwintering cattle and sheep and will be ready for grazing 90-110 days after sowing:
- Can be sown from April to August (sowing date will determine yield and utilisation period)
- Expected yield of 6-8 t DM/ha at 12-14% DM and 18-20% CP
- Excellent leaf-stem ratio = high-quality feed
- Energy levels of 10-11 MJ/kg DM
- Sowing rate: 3-3.5 kg/acre if drilled; 4.0 kg/acre if broadcast
- Can be included in grass seed mixture at 0.75-1.5 kg/acre
Sowing Redstart hybrid brassica in July will generally give the best result in terms of total yield; remember a day’s growth in July, is worth a week in August or a month in September.
For winter grazing Redstart is generally sown in mid-July, however many farmers sow Redstart earlier in the year and take multiple grazings from it.
Brassicas have a high requirement for N and P and an adequate supply of these nutrients is critical to maximise the yield potential of the crop. In addition, brassicas are low in fibre and supplementing with fibre, e.g. silage or straw is critical for animal health.
Redstart can also be baled or zero-grazed if necessary. In 2018, results from the farm of James Geoff in Waterford, showed bales of ensiled Redstart had an ME value of 12.7 MJ/kg DM and CP 23.7%.
Bales placed in the field during the summer minimise damage to the crop for winter grazing.
Samples taken from a standing crop of Redstart in November 2018 in Co. Laois had a ME value of 11 MJ/kg DM, with a CP of 22.1%.
Sowing advice for Redstart crops
- Soil test prior to sowing
- Field should not have an extreme slope or be close to a watercourse
- Soil pH is critical and should be at least 6.0 (optimum is 6.2 to 7.0). Crops will perform best under good soil pH and fertility status
- Spray off old sward with glyphosate
- If min-till use minimum of two bags of gran lime
- Generally sown into a cultivated seedbed but can also be direct drilled or broadcast (if broadcasting you will need to increase the seed rate)
- Sow seeds into a fine, firm seedbed at a maximum depth of 10 mm to ensure uniform germination
- Roll after sowing
- Monitor the crop closely and apply insecticides/pesticides as appropriate
You can view the product information for Redstart hybrid brassica here. If you have questions about sowing brassica, then click here to ask our grass and forage experts.