Livestock producers can take full advantage of the early maize harvest by following the crop with a high quality Italian ryegrass mixture, according to UK based Limagrain, a local agri seeds operating company.
Not only will this crop help prevent nitrate leaching, but this year’s ideal conditions and warm soil temperatures means that it will get established quickly and will has the potential to produce a good quality feed next spring.
“This year’s maize harvest across the UK is at least three weeks earlier than usual so the majority of farmers will have plenty of opportunity to select and sow a crop that is well suited to mopping up nitrates and that will provide good quality early grazing or an early silage cut next spring,” says Limagrain’s grass seed manager Ian Misselbrook.
Misselbrook advises farmers to look closely at blended ryegrasses. “Look at the choice of blended ryegrasses and use one that has been shown to perform well,” he adds. “For example, the grass seed mixtures Power Grass, that combines Westerwolds and Italian ryegrass, or Blended Ryegrass are particularly suited to following maize,” he adds. “Both can produce useful late winter or early spring grazing and even an early silage cut, before going back in to maize. Or, if the land is not destined for maize next year, then a short term ley can be established that will boost next year’s forage supplies.”
In trials these mixtures have been shown to improve digestibility and energy value of the diet by 3% with a 5% improvement in overall feed efficiency.”