Some great benefits of along with brassicas in a rotation are many, from lowering reliance on bought-in concentrates to extending the grazing season.

As quickly as brassicas have established, there are few options for weed administration.

Avoiding errors on the establishment stage will help the crop to understand its full potential, as even affordable weed populations can in the reduction of yields significantly.

See moreover: Outwintering cattle on kale or grass silage: Which is biggest?

This has certainly not been so important with the emphasis now on rising and managing all crops with minimal pesticide intervention, says Helen Mathieu, product sales supervisor for seed agency Germinal.

“Deciding on the acceptable topic and getting the whole thing carried out in a properly timed pattern will give the crop the best chance,” she says.

Ms Mathieu presents her advice on along with brassicas in a rotation and procure the best finish outcome at establishment.

Select the brassica acceptable to your need

Brassicas have fully completely different maturity dates – an important consideration when planning at what stage the feed will in all probability be wished.

As an illustration, kale will take six months or longer to realize maturity, so a crop sown in May or June will in all probability be ready for feeding from November to carry stock by the winter.

Swedes drilled at an equivalent time usually tend to be ready for feeding in January.

Rape and kale crosses, equal to Redstart and Swift, are so much quicker to realize maturity – in as little as eight to 10 weeks – and that means they’re typically grazed sooner.

These may be drilled up until mid-August, making them very versatile, says Ms Mathieu.

“Take into accout there’s no stage drilling any brassica sooner than mid-May, which is a similar time to maize sowing.”

© Debbie James

Is the soil brassica-ready?

Soil testing is the beginning line for any crop, to be sure that the nutrient standing is the place it must be. For kale that’s index 2 for phosphorus (P) and potassium (Okay) and a minimal pH of 6.

Soil check out correctly upfront and lime if wanted.

“Lime in a great deal of time, ideally the sooner autumn – nonetheless there’s moreover the selection to excessive costume with prilled lime at sowing, which is able to assist to rush points up,’’ says Ms Mathieu.


The commonest observe for establishing brassicas is by direct-drilling, nonetheless they might even be established using normal plough and press cultivation.

“The advantage of direct-drilling is retaining vitality inside the ground layer, which might help retain the soil development when grazing the crop, notably with cattle,” she says.

For a typical establishment regime, spray with glyphosate when pasture or weed cowl is about 2,000kg DM/ha (809kg DM/acre), typically 8-10cm sward high.

At between days 5 and seven post-spraying, graze onerous, or reduce to remove as so much vegetation as potential.

“Eradicate all the rivals on the ground – it should be saved clear for prolonged adequate for brassicas to take keep,” says Ms Mathieu.

Apply fertiliser on the thought of earlier soil exams. Nitrogen must be utilized to understand optimum crop improvement, using RB209 as a info.

“Brassicas do reply to obtainable nutritional vitamins of N, P and Okay, utilized to the seed-bed, or later if wanted, nonetheless always search the recommendation of your RB209,’’ she says.

“When you end up making use of slurry or farmyard manure, it is best to know what contributions these inputs are making so you can regulate artificial fertiliser functions accordingly.

“Ideally, work on the thought of exact analyses, as this may be important inside the context of your nitrate vulnerable zone most nitrogen prohibit.”

Brassicas should not have a extreme requirement for N, nonetheless even at current prices, Ms Mathieu says it is economically viable to make use of N as a result of the rising costs are so low.

If cultivating, broadcast seed, harrow and roll, or direct-drill and roll.


Brassicas must ideally be drilled when soil temperatures are about 10C and rising, with optimum timing dependent upon crop type and choice.

“This can be any time from early to mid-May nonetheless later extra north,” says Ms Mathieu.

She warns in direction of drilling too early. “In 2021, soils had been very gradual to warmth up and some earlier-sown brassicas failed to realize their full potential,” she says.

Seed costs

Seed costs are typically between 5-7.5kg/ha (2-3kg/acre), counting on crop type and choice. Marginally larger seed costs are actually useful when broadcasting in distinction with direct-drilling.

Whatever the establishment approach, seed must be sown at a depth of roughly 1cm.

Monitor the rising crop

Brassica crops needs to be monitored intently for pests, illnesses and weed ingress, notably all through these important first six weeks of agency.

Weeds must be managed inside the earlier crop or by spraying earlier to cultivation or pre-emergence.

Typically there is a need for controls to deal with pest equal to diamondback moth and sawfly. Nevertheless Ms Mathieu says this might solely be carried out if infestation reaches a threshold extra prone to set off the crop extreme hurt.

“Seeing the odd moth making holes inside the leaf simply is not a motive to take movement, nonetheless it is going to rely on the world and the best way so much oilseed rape is grown regionally, as it is going to dictate inhabitants ranges.”

Rising costs

Bigger fertiliser prices have pushed up the on a regular basis rising worth from about £250-£300/ha (£101-£121/acre) to £380-£400/ha (£154-£162/acre), says Ms Mathieu.

“That gives us a worth of 6.3p/kg of dry matter (DM) for a 6t crop,” she calculates.

“In several phrases, the rise in fertiliser prices will most likely equate to spherical 2p/kg of DM or £20/t.”

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