Forage rape can be grazed after 1 January as a forage for cattle or sheep.
Rapid growing ability with good winter hardiness. Forage rape is a high-energy feed for grazing ruminants.
- Sowing rate: 4-5 kg/acre (if broadcasting use a higher rate)
- Frost tolerance: Good
- Biomass: Good
- Pests & diseases: Generally not a problem, but clubroot could become an issue if brassicas are used as a cover crop over a period of years.
ACRES Scheme details
- The following table presents the full list of prescribed catch crops permitted within the ACRES scheme.
- For ACRES, a mixture of at least two crops from the prescribed list must be sown before 15 September.
- Forage rape crops must remain in situ until after 1 January.
The following is the list of prescribed catch crops and their sowing rates under the ACRES scheme (minimum of two crops must be sown under ACRES)
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Usage guide – Forage rape
Sowing rate: 4-5 kg/acre (if broadcasting use a higher rate)
Sowing time: July to late August
Sowing depth: 10 mm
Sowing instructions: Soil test approximately eight weeks prior to sowing. Cultivate to achieve a fine, firm seedbed. Ploughing will help level rough fields. Apply lime as per soil test results. Sow in good conditions (warm with rain forecast), no deeper than 10 mm. Roll well after sowing to ensure good soil/seed contact. Apply N, P & K as per soil test results and nitrates rules.
After sowing: Monitor for pest attack and seek advice where a problem arises
Fertiliser rate: N, P and K guidelines for Forage Rape (source: Teagasc Green Book)
1A split dressing for Forage Rape is advised. Spread half N at sowing and half approx. 3 weeks later.
Uses: Dairy – Y; Cattle – Y; Sheep – Y
- Brassicas are low in iodine, copper, cobalt and selenium – a slow-release bolus will ensure animals receive adequate minerals
- Supplementary fibre (e.g. silage, hay or straw) should account for 30% of the diet, with 70% coming from the brassica
- Introduce stock to brassicas gradually (build from 1-2 hours access per day to full-time access over 10-14 days)
- Always ensure animals have access to fresh water