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Forgive me Delilah

“I just couldn't take anymore” not that I think Tom Jones was specifically referring to the popular short term forage crop, stubble turnips.


This crop is suitable to fatten livestock, especially lambs, over winter and utilisation may begin around 12 weeks after planting. If set stocked across the entire field, there is the danger of stock selectively grazing the soft, leafy tops with the high protein, but tougher bulb being left or rejected.


Different varieties are available, from white fleshed round bulbs to pink and white coloured tankard shaped bulbs. There is also varietal resistance to disease. When your leaf disappears to foliar infections a measurable percentage of your feed goes with it.


So, what else should we be aware of?

Wet fields are not suitable, as ground conditions must be reasonably dry for grazing. Select a field that will not allow surface water run off to go anywhere it should not.

When planning the layout of the crop, consider where loafing areas and a run-back need to be and where supplementary fibre can be fed.


Consider fields with multiple access points so new grazing areas can be accessed and alternative loafing areas can be used if needed.


Like most brassicas, stubble turnips are at risk of club root infection so ensure good crop husbandry practices are used and watch out for Oil Seed Rape within the rotation.


Pest control can be an issue following the withdrawal of seed treatments and where foliar sprays are known to be ineffective.