Brassicas

Turnips

Turnips may be the perfect dual-purpose cover crop. First, their tubers and roots penetrate the soil and cycle nutrients. Early fall planted turnips provide a massive amount of dry matter, while helping to control erosion and suppress weeds. They also work great as a forage crop, especially when mixed with small grains to extend the fall grazing period. while popular options like purple top turnips have large bulbs or tubes, some varieties are bred for a lesser bulb size and larger tops. These options work especially well in grazing environments, and depending on how quickly they regrow, some varieties even allow for multiple grazing cycles during the fall. Because of their small seed size, turnips tend to establish easier in aerial and broadcast applications when compared to radishes, especially in dry conditions and when seeding time may be alter in t he season due to late crop harvests.

  • Excellent dual-purpose cover crop
  • Aids in breaking up compaction
  • Sequester excess nutrients left from cash crops
  • Small seed size is conducive for easier planting (especially in broadcast applications)
  • Provide good early season weed suppression
  • Turnips should be combined with other forages, namely lesser digestible options like grass or dry hay in ruminant animals (to prevent potential livestock disorders)

Vivant Brassica    

Vivant Hybrid Brassica is a quick-growing brassica with very little bulb development. Vivant is best suited for multiple grazing cycle situations because of its excellent regrowth. It can be used to extend the grazing season in the fall or planted alongside warm season annuals for multiple grazings in the summer. With proper management (first grazing in 40-45 days AND subsequent grazing cycles every 25-30 days when grazed no less than 4″), it has the potential to yield over 5 tons of dry matter per acre.

  • Known for its quick regrowth, even under close grazing
  • All the energy of the plant is contained in the leaves – different than regular turnips
  • Highly digestibility – suitable for dairy, beef, and sheep
  • When fed, brassicas need to be combined with other forages (no more than 2/3 of the total animal diet) to prevent potential livestock disorders

 

Rapeseed

Rapeseed is versatile enough to be planted in the spring for a summer cover, or may be utilized in the fall for a winter cover crop. Rapeseed works great as a dual purpose crop, adapting to a wide range of soil types and conditions. Rape tends to be extremely drought tolerant and stands frost better than some of other brassicas. Because of its winter-hardiness, it’s common for growers to get multiple grazing cycles when feeding rape.

  • Strong biomass production makes it great for fall and winter grazing
  • Offers the most grazing cycles of brassica when planted in alte summer/early fall
  • Performs well in poor soil fertility conditions
  • Likely to overwinter in transition zone and south