Forager: Updated forage options, Autumn 2018

Wednesday 15.08.2018 , News
With the right choice of crop and good management, homegrown forages will always cost less per tonne of DM compared to purchased feeds.

The crops listed below have the ability to produce tonnes of dry matter in the short term. It is important to remember however that earlier sowing will increase the yield potential and these crops will need good weather conditions at, and after sowing, to maximise their potential.

Forage rape

Sown in early/mid-August, this crop has the potential to yield 5 t DM/ha and can be grazed in-situ. Management appropriate for growing and feeding a brassica crop should be applied. This is not a difficult crop to grow and is a suitable option as a catch crop or in a field targeted for reseeding.

Forage Rape

Variety of choice – Stego

Hybrid ryegrass

Hybrid ryegrass does not have the same short-term yield potential as hybrid brassica but does have other potential benefits. There will be extra grazing available in the spring, and in the context of building fodder stocks on farms in the next couple of years, this crop could play an important role.

Hybrid ryegrass has the potential to yield 16 t DM/ha, but it is important to use varieties with good quality. There are debatable economies when sown as a catch crop, but where fodder is scarce this should be considered.

Hybrid Ryegrass

Varieties of choice – AberEve and AberEcho

Italian ryegrass

Italian ryegrass is similar in profile to hybrid ryegrass; it has similar short–term yield but less persistency than the hybrids with potential lower quality.

Italian Rye Grass

Variety of choice – Barextra

Westerwolds ryegrass

This is an annual form of Italian ryegrass. It only grows for one year, so is not as suitable where the intention is to build forage stocks for the long term. In the short term, it will deliver yields similar to hybrid ryegrass.

Westerwolds Ryegrass

Variety of choice – Bartiga