Getting The Best Out Of Your Brassicas

Producing healthy, and therefore profitable livestock, is vital for the success of a grazing operation. To do this it is imperative to meet your animal's nutritional requirements all year round.

There are times during the year when pasture quantity and quality is low and it can be difficult to maintain feed value in a grazing situation, particularly over the warmer months. Forage brassica crops, which are a fast growing and low cost option, can provide a nutritionally balanced and easy to digest food source, providing your stock with a vital source of energy.

Forage brassicas are packed with protein, with the crude protein content of brassica leaves ranging from 15%-25%. This can produce excellent livestock weight gains, for example 150-250g per day for lambs and 0.8-1.2 kg per day for growing cattle. In addition to providing a viable source of nutrition for livestock, forage brassicas also form a useful part of a pasture/whole farm improvement program by providing a ‘break’ in the cycle for weeds and diseases leaving paddocks in ideal condition for sowing new pastures or other crops.

Many growers moved away from sowing rape and turnip brassica crops due to the inability to control broadleaf weeds and insect problems. Dow AgroSciences ForageMax™, a new herbicide solution for in-crop broadleaf weed control in forage brassicas, maximises the grazing potential of rape and turnip crops by controlling key problem weeds such as fat-hen, allowing turnips and rape to flourish. Demonstration sites conducted over the last summer saw average increases in turnip production of 7T/ha dry matter when compared with untreated areas thereby removing the need for growers to buy in additional feed for stock.

To successfully grow brassica crops, effectively tackling both weeds and pests is essential. Caterpillar pests can decimate brassica crops if left uncontrolled, Success™ Neo from Dow AgroSciences is an extremely effective insecticide for controlling chewing pests, particularly against the widely insecticide resistant Diamond Back Moth.

By combining these key products and other solutions from Dow Agrosciences, intensive graziers will be able to successfully grow forage brassica crops and maximise on-farm productivity.