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Plantain -Tonic

Plantain is a perennial herb with a fibrous, coarse root system. It has moderate drought tolerance and can provide feed during dry periods. The variety Tonic is particularly useful for summer and autumn feeding. It is sown in a mixture with grass and is grazed in situ by the animal. Plantain requires free draining, fertile soils and is highly responsive to nitrogen.

Key benefits of plantain:

  • Higher in mineral content than perennial ryegrass
    swards (P, K, S, Ca, Mg, Na, Zn, Cu, B and Co)
  • Highly palatable
  • Deep rooting giving it access to nutrients deeper in soil

• Tonic Plantain can be added to a grass/clover mixture at a rate of 1 kg Plantain, 12 kg perennial ryegrass and 0.5 kg white clover
• Weed control is best carried out before sowing as post emergence weed control is limited
• Expected yield of 8 t DM/ha
• Choose a free draining fertile soil
• Spring sowing is preferential into warm soils >10°C
• Plantain can be broadcast or direct drilled into a cultivated soil and roll afterwards
• Sow no deeper than 10mm
• First grazing should be taken when plantain has at least six-leaves present (normally 8-10 weeks after a spring sowing and a height of 20-30 cm)
• Avoid grazing below 5 cm
• Avoid grazing in wet weather as poaching can impact on plant survival

Sowing rate        1 kg/acre with 12 kg grass and clover (2.5 + 35 kg/ha)

Sowing Time      April to mid-August, into warm soils (>10°C)

Sowing Depth    10 mm

Sowing Instructions

Sow in well drained soils. Control broad-leaved weeds before sowing. Cultivate to achieve a fine, firm seed bed. Ploughing will help level rough fields. Sow in good conditions (warm with rain forecast), no deeper than 10-15mm. Roll well after sowing to ensure good soil/ seed contact. N, P and K fertiliser requirements are similar to that of grass. Ensure optimum soil pH, P and K indices.

 

After sowing     

  • Graze when the crop reaches a height of 10-15 cm and when plants are resistant to uprooting. Generally ready for grazing 8 weeks after sowing
  • Rotationally graze for best results
  • Ensure short, intensive periods of grazing with adequate recover periods
  • Ideally graze to a residual of 4cm
  • In the 2nd and subsequent years plant height must not exceed 25 cm to limit seed head development and maintain feed quality
  • Ensure adequate N, P and K fertiliser is available to the plant

 

Uses      Dairy – Y

Cattle – Y

Sheep – Y