Open days aim to help farmers tackle ‘impending fodder crisis’
A farm walk and demo on growing alternative fodder crops this autumn will take place tomorrow (Friday), July 27, at 11:00am on the lands of John Stokes in Rossa, Doneraile, Co. Cork.
There will also be a mirror event next Wednesday, Aug 1, at 11:00am on the farm of John Cullen, Ballylucas, Ballymurn, Enniscorthy, Co. Wexford .
The event is being run by Teagasc in conjunction with Goldcrop.
Patrick Cashman, Goldcrop – Grass crop options for stubbles;
Emer Kennedy, Teagasc Moorepark – Brassica crop options;
Michael McCarthy, Teagasc Mallow – Husbandry and costings;
James Fleming, Teagasc Mallow – Winter fodder budgeting.
Tomorrow’s event aims to promote the sowing of brassica crops like fodder rape, stubble turnips and ryegrass, such as Italian ryegrass or Westerwold ryegrass.
Fodder rape and stubble turnip data…from Goldcrop:
- Fodder rape and stubble turnips can produce a “high yield of fodder in a short period” (12-14 weeks).
- Fodder rape: Expect 2.5t DM/ac from a crop sown at the start of August and grown until the end of November, with dry matter content at 12-13% and crude protein at 18-20%.
- Stubble turnips: Expect 1.5-2t DM/ac from a crop sown at the start of August and grown until the end of November, with dry matter content at 8-9% and crude protein at 17-18%.
- Sow in July or August once conditions are suitable. Earlier sowing will increase yield significantly.
- Preferably drill the seed to improve establishment.
- Apply fertiliser as per nitrogen and phosphorus directive (normally 200-250kg/ac 18-6-12).
- Fodder rape is suitable for grazing with cows, cattle and sheep.
- Gorilla hybrid fodder rape can allow “multiple grazings”, as it will regrow. Do not graze too bare at earlier grazings, to avoid damaging the growing points.
- Stubble turnips are most suitable for grazing by sheep and younger cattle.
Goldcrop estimates the cost of growing fodder rape or stubble turnip to be €147/ac.
Ryegrass data…from Goldcrop:
- Italian ryegrass and Westerwold ryegrass will produce “vigorous production” up to next spring that can be grazed, zero-grazed or baled for silage.
- Expect yields of 1.4-2t DM/ac from a crop sown at the start of August and grown until March;
- Italian ryegrass will last for two-to-three years if desired.
- Westerwold ryegrass will be productive for 12-15 months.
- Earlier sowing will increase yield; target July or early August.
- Apply fertiliser as per nitrogen and phosphorus directive (normally 125-150kg/ac 24-2.5-10 at sowing; and on January 15 apply 50kg/ac urea to maximise spring growth).
- Do not allow Italian ryegrass or Westerwold ryegrass to produce viable seeds – graze or cut within two weeks of the plants heading out.
Goldcrop estimates the cost of growing one of these ryegrass varieties to be €168/ac.