Forage crops: All you need to know in one spot
Over the past number of weeks AgriLand has provided readers with advice on what forage crops to sow and best practice when sowing such crops.
In this article, we provide all of this information in one spot. Scroll down for more.
What crop to sow?
While a certain percentage of the farming population sow these crops every year, 2018 saw huge interest from new growers in order to decrease their fodder deficit.
Deciding on what crop to sow is a big decision. Yield and dry matter content come into play here, but seed availability has a bearing on the decision this season.Also Read: Catch and forage crops: Yield, dry matter and GLAS approval
Forage crops should be planted on dry ground. However, where farmers are afraid of poaching damage, there are options to bale or zero-graze.Also Read: Do I have to graze catch and forage crops or can I bale them?
The interest in growing these crops over the winter is encouraging, as farmers are proactively working out their fodder deficit and reducing it.
However, cost is extremely important when deciding on what to grow. Brassica crops most often work out at the lowest cost per kilogram of dry matter produced.
The crops can also provide a low-risk investment for tillage farmers – in some cases – as machinery is easily available and crops can provide a cover over the winter that can be incorporated if not utilised by livestock.Also Read: Catch crops: A low-risk investment that could feed livestock
Forage crops are ideally low-input crops. Using machinery that you have already will lower the cost of production.Also Read: Where and how to sow forage crops?
Where a high yield is desired, fertiliser needs to be applied.Also Read: What fertiliser should I apply to my forage crops?
Last week also saw the announcement of an incentive for tillage farmers to plant these crops for livestock farmers.
While many tillage farmers had sown or considered sowing at that point, the announcement renewed interest in these crops.Also Read: Forage crops: ‘There has to be a win-win situation’
The article below also highlights some of the factors to consider when deciding to sow or not.Also Read: Things to consider before sowing a forage crop on tillage ground
It’s also worth talking to people who have sown these crops before to hear their experiences. AgriLand spoke to John Cullen from Co. Wexford who was sowing forage crops for dairy farmers last week.Also Read: Tillage focus: Sowing forage crops for dairy farmers
We’ll be back with more on forage crops when it comes to grazing/baling time.