Product Focus: Spring Sown Brassica – Winfred, Mainstar, Hunter

While we are still in winter, now is time to give thought to your spring sowing options. Brassica’s sown in spring provide excellent summer/autumn feed for your stock. Below are three products to consider for your farm:

  1. Winfred Forage brassica is a forage rape and is usually ready for grazing in 10-12 weeks. Winfred is very hardy and has excellent regrowth.

     

  2. Mainstar forage rape is extremely palatable and has excellent metabolisable energy while being aphid tolerant. Mainstar is usually ready for grazing in 10-12 weeks.

     

  3. Hunter is a quick maturing leafy turnip with minimal bulb development. Hunter is one of the quickest ways to produce 5 tonnes per hectare of dry matter and is usually ready for grazing in 6-8 weeks. Hunter produces a large percentage of total dry matter in the first grazing, and depending on conditions can have multiple grazing.

 

The variety selected will depend on the average temperature, rainfall pattern and soil type as well as stock class being grazed. See Figure 3 to see which brassica would suit your farm. 

hunter in cobden
6-week-old Hunter in Cobden, VIC

The time to spring sow brassicas will depend on location. Soil temperatures need to be 10°C and rising. If brassicas are sown too early, vernalisation may occur, which means the brassica could run to flower in the first couple of months instead of the following winter.

In warm climates, for example west of the Newell Highway in the Central West of New South Wales sowing can commence in July. Whereas in areas of 900m+ altitude, sowing cannot occur until the end of September. If feed is not required until later, sowing can be delayed in cool climates, providing there is enough soil moisture and it is not too hot to establish the crop.

whats right for you
Figure 3: What’s right for you – Winfred, Mainstar or Hunter?, Brassica & Herb Guide, 2018

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