Leafmore is a hybrid type forage brassica, with high yielding dry matter, good leaf to stem ratio. Leafmore can be autumn or winter sown, providing an ideal forage option and rotation. Leafmore is highly palatable, with good cold tolerance and excellent regrowth. When sown in spring, can grow for 18 months.
Like any brassica, establishment pests such as RLEM, Lucerne Flea and Cockchafer can be a problem. Heritage Seeds recommends the use of Gaucho Insecticidal seed dressing to offer 2-3 weeks protection from time of sowing. Careful monitoring is also required to ensure abnormal pressure or attacks do not occur outside the protection window. Once temperatures do warm up, and the plant reaches grazing maturity, Diamond Back or Cabbage Moth (Plutella) can cause severe defoliation. Due to their rapid lifecycle, careful monitoring, strategic grazing and timely insectide application can assist. SP insecticides ( Eg Sumi AlphaFlex ) are registered and work better when coupled with higher water rates, spraying later in the day and using feed additives. For severe infestations Bt insectides (Eg Success & Mimic) achieve better results. Observe all label recommendations and stock witholding periods.
Leafmore, like most brassicas has a high fertility requirement and well prepared soil. It is suited to well drained, loamy soils through to heavy clays.
Leafmore offers greater dry matter production, time to first grazing and palatability over varieties currently in the market place. Leafmore has been extensively trialled across many sites through southern Australia, and consistently shows up as a superior brassica in its class.
Leafmore has natural levels of glucosinalates which act as a biofumigant against some soil borne diseases and offers a great rotation to cereals and grasses. As a brassica however, it does host and suffer from blackleg, and great care should be taken when sowing in canola areas. It is not recommended to sow Leafmore into canola stubble, nor canola into Leafmore.
Fertiliser Suggestions: Ideally sow with a Starter N,P fertilizer Eg 75kg/ha MAP or DAP, or Granulock 12 or similar.
Herbicide Suggestions: A good knockdown prior to sowing will ensure most weed problems are kept to a minimum. Check paddock history for any products that may have a residual or plantback effect on forage brassicas.
Paddock & Grazing Management
Brassicas are high quality, low fibre forages that need some management to achieve the best results;
- Introduce stock slowly to Leafmore. Allow access for 2-3 hours a day initially, gradually increasing. Incorporate a grass run off area and/or alternative fibre sources Eg Hay in the corner (Needs to be at least 25% of the diet)
- Cows are likely to eat 4-5kg/ha Dm Forage Rape per day, and as a rule – it should only be 30% of their diet
- Allow access to good quality water
- Monitor stock- especially relating to issues such as Nitrate poisoning, periods of plant stress, photosensitization. Remove stock during such time
Leafmore, with its hybrid type growth habit offers Autumn or Spring sowing opportunities, reducing the risk of bolting. With superior growth during cooler temperatures it offers an exciting feed to extend the feed window. Depending on conditions 10-12t Dm/ha of production is likely within one season.
For more information on Grazing and Milking on Brassicas, read “Growing forage rape in the Autumn” Bill Fulkerson, Future Dairy Technote Feb 2008, University of Sydney, Camden NSW.