Summer Fodder Crops

Summer fodder crops are an extremely valuable out of season feed source. By January/ February when feed is limited, farmers will wish they had a summer forage crop in the ground as they produce large volumes of feed and are relatively inexpensive to establish. They can be used as maintenance feed, as an alternative to feeding out hay and silage, or a highly nutritive mix can be used to fi nish livestock. In years gone by, a summer crop may have comprised of a forage rape or turnip mixed with some millet to fatten stock in a fi nishing system. In recent times, with increasing livestock prices, there has been a focus on pushing animal production which has led to diversifying the mixture by way of including summer active forages like chicory, red clover and daikon radishes. By sowing a summer fodder crop a paddock will be in much better condition for sowing a permanent pasture in the following autumn. By levelling and working the paddock in spring it cuts down the preparation time enormously and in most situations it is simply a matter of direct drilling your permanent pasture.

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