Seed
Seedling
Vegetative Growth
Flowering Plant

Stubble Turnip

Brassica

(Brassica rapa)

One of the most popular short term forage crops in the UK. Stubble turnips are quick to establish with a good level of protein, making them ideal to fatten livestock, especially lambs over the winter. Different varieties are available, from white fleshed round bulbs to pink and white coloured tankard shaped bulbs. The small seed and low sowing rate make them a very economical way of feeding livestock.

Uses

Very useful for livestock forage. Its also an important break crop between grass reseeds to reduce pests and disease, which is particularly important with the withdrawal of key insecticides.

Persistence

An annual species.

Strengths

Very quick to establish, with good levels of protein. An economical species in terms of cost to feed and fatten livestock and easy to fit into gaps in the rotation

Frost Tolerance

Reasonable frost tolerance, but not truly frost hardy if grown in colder parts of the country.

Yield

4.5t DM per ha.

Sowing Rate Advice

2kg per acre / 5kg per ha.

Sowing rates may be lowered to produce less leaf, and allow more space for larger bulbs. However if disease or pest pressure is high, there will be less plants to rely on to make up the crop if some are lost.

Mixture Sowing Rate Advice

1.5kg per acre / 3.75kg per ha

Often sown with forage rape as the 'early fold root mixture'.

Ideal Sowing Time

Its quick speed of establishment means it can be sown from spring until early autumn.

Management

It can be grazed after approximately 12 weeks, however the crop maybe left later into the season, to allow the bulbs to develop. Strip grazing is an efficient grazing management tool. If no management is carried out and the livestock are set stocked across the entire field, there is the danger of stock selectively grazing. This results in the soft, leafy top growth being grazed and the high protein, but tougher bulb being left or rejected.

Distinguishing characteristics

Seed

Seed
Stubble turnip seed varies in colour from dark brown to maroon or black. It has a smooth, dull texture and varies from 2 - 3mm in size.

Seedling

Seedling
The seedling produces a rounded pair of cotyledons, before going on to produce the 1st true leaf, this has toothed margins.

Vegetative State

Flowering Plant

Flowering Plant
The plant produces a light green, waxy leaf, before developing a bulb as it matures. The leaf margins are toothed and generally lobed towards the bottom of the leaf. It grows from a taproot, but the majority of growth for most varieties is above ground.

Additional Info

Average seeds per kg - 300 000. Average protein content 17%. Growth Period 10 - 12 weeks. Some leafy varieties with more top growth and a much less substantial bulb are available.

Works well with

It can be combined with other quick growing species like forage rape.

You can find Stubble Turnip in the following mixtures