Brassicas and Herbs

BrassicasForage brassicas consist of a group of broadleaf, cool-season annuals that include rape, kale and turnip varieties. Forage types are generally planted in early fall to provide high-quality, winter grazing. Forage brassicas are generally mixed with a cool-season annual forage, such as a cereal grain or annual ryegrass.

Some forms of brassicas, such as turnips and radishes, are also very beneficial cover crops. They are known to suppress weed growth, break up soil compaction, and add organic content.

One of the few herbs used for forage production is chicory. Chicory is a perennial that excels in cool and warm seasons.

 

Chicory

Chicory is a long-lived perennial herb. It is most often associated with wildlife food plots, but it is an excellent forage for cattle on well-drained, poor-quality soils. Chicory is very durable, with good cold tolerance and excellent heat and drought tolerance. It has a deep taproot and can thrive for more than five years before replanting. 

  • Seeding Rate (Pure Stand): 5 lbs/acre
  • Seeding Depth: ¼ inch
  • Forage Quality: Excellent
  • Longevity: Excellent
  • Winter Hardiness: Medium-Excellent
  • Drought Tolerance: Excellent
  • Heat Tolerance: Excellent

Forage Turnips

Forage turnips are similar to purple top turnips, but they have been developed to produce more leafy top growth. Forage turnips are often mixed with winter annual grass species (annual ryegrass and cereal grains). They have excellent cold tolerance and are very high quality forage. Forage turnips are also used as cover crops because they provide a large amount of organic content, break up surface soil compaction, suppress weed growth, and hold and release large amount of nitrogen.

  • Seeding Rate (Pure Stand): 5 lbs/acre
  • Seeding Depth: ¼ inch
  • Forage Quality: Excellent
  • Longevity: Winter Annual
  • Winter Hardiness: Excellent
  • Drought Tolerance: Medium-Excellent
  • Heat Tolerance: Poor

Improved forage turnips varieties offered by Heritage Seed: Bouncer, Dynamo

Kale

Kale is cool-season annual brassica. It is the highest yielder and most cold tolerant of the brassica family, and it is often planted in the spring (in the North) or late summer. Dry matter yields can surpass 10,000 lbs/acre. It can grow under relatively low soil fertility and prefers well-drained locations.

  • Seeding Rate (Pure): 5 lbs/acre
  • Seeding Depth: ¼ inch
  • Forage Quality: Excellent
  • Longevity: Annual
  • Winter Hardiness: Excellent
  • Drought Tolerance: Good
  • Heat Tolerance: Medium

Improved kale variety offered by Heritage Seed: Caledonian

Rape

Rape is a type of brassica that looks very similar to turnips above the ground, but it doesn’t have the large root bulb. Very common in wildlife food plot products, rape is an excellent option to mix with winter grasses for winter grazing. It is very leafy and very nutritious. Some improved rape varieties may be called rape or brassica. A very affordable way to add quality and winter forage tonnage, rape is an under-utilized tool in forage programs.

  • Seeding Rate (Pure Stand): 5 lbs/acre
  • Seeding Depth: ¼ inch
  • Forage Quality: Excellent
  • Longevity: Winter Annual
  • Winter Hardiness: Excellent
  • Drought Tolerance: Excellent
  • Heat Tolerance: Poor

Improved rape variety offered by Heritage Seed: Hobson