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FODDER CROPS – AN OPPORTUNITY TO CUT COSTS!

Fodder crops offer farmers an excellent alternative feeding strategy for wintering livestock.

They are a very cost-effective way of supplementing livestock rations particularly during times when fodder may be scarce.

Why grow fodder crops?

 - Forage crops can significantly extend the grazing season when grass starts to tail off.
 - They can be fed to increase milk yields and live weight gains.
 - They are suitable for a wide range of production systems.
 - They are beneficial as a break-crop in a rotation. They can reduce labour.

Points to Consider when introducing Fodder Crops into your farming system

 - Stock should be introduced gradually over a two week period and an area of grassland should be available for animals to return to.
 - As brassicas have a very low fibre content, it is critical that stock have access to water, hay or straw at all times.
 - Brassicas are inherently low in trace elements.
 - Any trace element deficiencies in stock must be rectified before and while feeding brassicas.
 - If using fodder crops for dairy cows then it is important to consider the distance between the field and the milking parlour.

Fodder Crops

Drummonds offer the following range of fodder crops suitable for Irish livestock farms.

 

This crop is usually sown as a catch crop after winter or spring cereals.

 

Grown as a main root crop, fodder beet requires similar husbandry to sugar beet.

 

A leafy, fast growing catch crop that is best strip grazed to limit waste.

 

A good winter hardy crop with excellent feeding value that is utilised either by strip grazing or zero grazing.

 

Crimson Clover