cows on kale sheep on fodder1



Fodder crops offer farmers an excellent alternative feeding strategy for wintering livestock. They are a very cost-effective way of supplementing livestock rations particularly during times when fodder may be scarce.

Why grow fodder crops?

  • Forage crops can significantly extend the grazing season when grass starts to tail off.
  • They can be fed to increase milk yields and live weight gains.
  • They are suitable for a wide range of production systems.
  • They are beneficial as a break-crop in a rotation.
  • They can reduce labour.

Points to Consider when introducing Fodder Crops into your farming system

  • Stock should be introduced gradually over a two week period and an area of grassland should be available for animals to return to.
  • As brassicas have a very low fibre content, it is critical that stock have access to water, hay or straw at all times.
  • Brassicas are inherently low in trace elements. Any trace element deficiencies in stock must be rectified before and while feeding brassicas.
  • If using fodder crops for dairy cows then it is important to consider the distance between the field and the milking parlour.

Contact Us for further guidance.

Drummonds offer the following range of fodder crops suitable for Irish livestock farms.

  • Forage Rape
  • Stubble Turnip
  • Fodder Beet
  • Kale

FORAGE RAPE –Forage Rape

This crop is usually sown as a catch crop after winter or spring cereals. It is a very fast growing leafy crop with a high crude protein yield, suitable for sheep or cattle. It is also an ideal catch crop for boosting livestock farmers mid-summer forage production or fattening lambs in autumn/winter. Its also superb for flushing ewes. It will grow well on relatively poor soils and exposed sites. It can be mixed with stubble turnips and makes for an excellent break-crop between grass leys.

STUBBLE TURNIPS – A leafy, fast growing catch crop that is best strip grazed to limit waste. Popular with livestock farmers, stubble turnips may be sown after first cut silage for summer grazing or after winter cereals for autumn usage. There are two types of stubble turnip : Bulbing and Non-Bulbing(Leafy).stubble-turnips

Fodder BeetFODDER BEET – Grown as a main root crop, fodder beet requires similar husbandry to sugar beet. It can produce substantial yields of a high quality fodder and is an excellent supplement to grass silage. It is often grown as a fodder reserve to extend grazing in the autumn. Roots are very palatable to stock and have superb feeding value which can help in reducing concentrate usage.

KaleKALE - A good winter hardy crop with excellent feeding value that is utilised either by strip grazing or zero grazing. This is a very useful crop for extending the grazing season. Mineral supplementation is necessary if the crop is to be a main part of the animals diet. Be aware that clubroot is a disease threat with this crop so avoid growing kale on any fields which have a history of clubroot. This crop grows best on a well drained, medium loam soil with a pH of 6.0 – 7.0. Sown between Mid-April and July, early sown crops which establish well tend to give the best yields. It is advisable to stagger sowing dates to ensure the crop does not over-mature.

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