Setting up summer crops

May 2020: If spring-sown, summer forage crops, like chicory or turnips, are part of your feed plan for the season ahead, this story is for you. 


It’s about how to pick paddocks for crops, so when the time comes to get seed into the ground, you’re all set to go.


The most obvious paddocks to choose are those in annual ryegrass.


But if you need more paddocks there are two things to look at. First, pastures damaged by pugging or treading during winter, or those used as sacrifice stand-off areas.


Second,it’s also a good idea to assess the state of all your paddocks before spring. For example, many farms have pastures which really suffered during prolonged dry conditions earlier this year.


These will be obvious through their poor regrowth, and a summer crop is a great programme to restore these to long-term productivity.


In choosing these summer crop paddocks, don’t forget to think about what your animals will need, too. Good water is important, as is walking distance from the milking shed.


Regardless of what crop you’re sowing, soil fertility and pH have a big influence on yield, so get these tested early, to give you time to apply fertiliser and/or lime if necessary.


Please feel free to call us for more advice 0800 449 955.