Farms demonstrating outwintering cattle on forage brassicas

Project number:                    7292

Lead contractor:                   British Seed Houses

Partners:                                   HCC

Start & end date:                   01 June 2007 – 31 May 2008

 

The Problem:

The cost of housing cattle over winter is increasing, due to rising fuel, bedding and feed costs.  Forage brassicas have the potential to help farmers reduce costs and produce more beef from forage.  A variety of sites will be established throughout England and Wales to demonstrate how brassicas (kale, turnips, rape/kale hybrids) can be used in different crop rotations with a variety of types of beef cattle to provide a low cost feed option during the winter.

A producer meeting will be held at each site to demonstrate methods of sowing, crop husbandry, feeding out, utilisation, methods to ensure compliance with GAEC, methods to ensure no run off, full establishment and utilisation costings, and analysis of grazed forage.

 

Project Aims:

1.  To demonstrate on farm the utilisation of brassicas to extend the grazing season and to out winter cattle, therefore reducing production costs in relation to housing, bedding, feeding and managing muck in cattle systems

 

Approach:

Seven farms will be identified in England and Wales.  Meetings will be planned with speakers from British Seed Houses, which will cover establishment and utilisation of crops, and representatives from Catchment Sensitive Farming to explain how fields should be managed in the winter to avoid run-off and diffuse pollution.

 

Deliverables:

A BRP manual will be produced to summarise advice.  British Seed Houses will produce a summary of the visits.