In order to produce healthy profitable livestock it is imperative to meet their nutritional requirements year-round. At those times of year when
pasture quantity and quality is low this can be difficult to achieve.
During these times forage brassicas can provide a low cost food source for livestock.
• Forage brassicas can provide quick and abundant feed, with high digestibility, energy, and protein.
• The crude protein content of brassica leaves ranges from 15%-25% and that of turnips and swede bulbs from 9%-16%.
• Forage brassicas can produce excellent livestock weight gains, for example 150-250 g/hd/day for lambs and 0.8-1.2 kg/hd/day for growing cattle are common.
In addition to providing a cheap means of nutrition for livestock, forage brassicas can also form a useful part of a pasture improvement program.They provide a ‘break’ in the cycle for weeds and disease leaving paddocks in ideal condition for pasture or sowing. Brassica crops also contain biofumigants which can inhibit the growth ofdisease-producing organisms and reduce the incidence of nematodes.