Growing fodder crops? Give them every chance of being a winner.
Here's where we can help you out.
Simple steps to produce a highly effective brassica crop.
|So you are determined to give your fodder crop (kale, rape swedes, leaf or bulb turnips and fodder beet) every chance of being a winner. Most likely to stand between you and success (apart from inadequate soil fertility and the weather) are weeds and pests.|
Both weeds and pests can have an impact on yield from as early as sowing. Timing of corrective measures is as important as choosing the right solution.
This guide is designed to provide good solutions to some of the issues facing farmers who wish to maximise the profitability from their feed crops. Some of these solutions begin long before the crop is sown, so planning is critical to achieving success.
Good weed control is essential in brassicas
|Weeds can very quickly over run a brassica crop. They are highly competitive and if left uncontrolled can devastate yields. Trials investigating weed control option have shown that even moderate weed populations can reduce yields. |
Controlling weeds in the crop will:
- Increase the yield by up to three times, compared to crops grown in the absence of weed control.
- Reduce weed in subsequent new pasture by stopping weed seed set in the crop.
Step 1: Start early where perennial weeds are a problem
|In autumn select the paddock early and control hard to kill pereninial weeds (especially brountop, couch, Californian thistles, Mercer grass, paspalum, Kikuyu, etc) with WeedMaster TS540. Spray in autumn to maximise WeedMaster TS540 translocation and effectiveness, then sow a short-term crop (ryegrass or cereal) for some high quality grazing or silage. |
Step 2: A pre-plant clean-up saves time
|Before establishing the crop, spray with WeedMaster TS540 to kill the existing vegetation. This clean-up provides the following benefits:|
- Controls perennial weeds to minimise compeition in the brassica crop
- Quicker turf and root breakdown
| - Allows shorter fallow period (your crop can be planted earlier)|
- Easier tillage (saves time and fuel)
- Better seedbed (finer with fewer clods for better seedling establishment) along with reduced pests such as slugs.
Application Rate For
|Browntop, Kikuyu, Mercer grass|
|Perennial ryegrass, Californian thistles|
|Many old pastures contain hard to kill weeds and will need at least 4.0L/ha WeedMaster TS540.|
|Add Dew™ 600 (400ml/ha), the WeedMaster TS540 tankmix to control springtails when spraying out prior to sowing (see the springtail control section for more detail). |
Apply SlugOut® for slug control at either pre-planting or planting time (see the slug control section for more details).
Step 3: Pre-emergence weed control
|Pre-emergence weed control is a useful tool for early control of grass and broadleaf weeds. Choose an appropriate herbicide, ensure that correct application techniques are used and that potential soil residues are considered as part of the planned crop rotation.|
Step 4: Post-emergence weed control
|Post-emergence herbicides give the best results when applied to actively growing small seedling weeds well before crop canopy closure. Typically, application should occur within three to six weeds after sowing. |
|Prestige is an option that can be used in all fodder brassicas to control a range of broadleaf weeds including black nightshade and fathen, thorn apple and redroot (suppression only). Add Bonza spraying oil at 500ml/100L water. |
|Archer can be used in all fodder brassicas and is particularly useful for controlling yarrow, thistles and Californian thistles. |
|Kamba 500 is an option for controlling a wide range of broadleaf weeds in kale crops only. Do not use Kamba 500 on rape, turnips, hybrid forage types (Hunter/Pasja) or swedes. |
|Sequence is a selective herbicide for grass weed control in all brassica crops. Sequence is particularly effective against ryegrasses and 'annual summer grasses' such as barnyard grass, bristle grass, summer grass and smooth witchgrass. Add Bonza spraying oil at 500ml/100L water. |
Step 5: Post-emergence pest control
|Slugs and springtails are two of the most common pests to attack fodder brassicas at establishment and cause substantial plant and yield losses. To maximise yields a good pest control programme should be implemented. |
|Springtails will begin to attack as soon as brassica seedling start to emerge. If springtails become a problem in the crop after seedling emergence apply Attack. Other options include Dew 600 or Chlorpyrifos 500EC.|
|Slugs are not usually a problem in brassica crops established via cultivation, although crops should be monitored for any sign of slug damage. Damage can occur quickly and result in severe economic loss.|
Step 6: Check for other pests
|Greasy cutworm, aphids, caterpillars (diamondback moth and white butterfly), leaf miner, and nysius (wheat bug) can all cause considerable economic damage in fodder brassicas. They are sporadic and unpredictable pests and number may reach levels where control is required. |