Forage rape is suitable for either grazing by livestock or cutting and feeding. It has a high energy value and a highly digestible crude protein content. In general, the taller varieties develop more stems but, as a compensation, the leaves remain cleaner. Forage rape is also used as a green manure crop because of its high and speedy production of dry matter both above and below ground level. It shows good tolerance to night frost and has a rapid initial growth rate.
While typically sown as pure stands, it can be sown in combination with other forages. For winter feed, it can be planted with annual or Italian ryegrasses and eventually in combination with stubble turnips.
Sown: May to end of August
Soil type: Grows on most soils ideally with a pH of 6 - 6.5.
Sowing rate: Drilled, natural seed 6 kg/ha - Broadcast, natural seed 10 kg/ha
Seed bed: Firm, fine level seed bed, can be drilled into cereal stubbles
Fertiliser: 50 N, 25 P, 50 K, kg/ha assuming sufficient soil nutrients available
Harvest: Grazed; apply strip-grazing for the most efficient usage
Yield: 24-35 T/ha fresh and 3.5 T/ha dry matter
Feeding: Grazed in situ 13 – 15 weeks from sowing
Dry matter: 12%-14%
Crude protein: 19%-20%
Energy value: 10 - 11 MJ ME/kg DM