Dwarf Essex is a short, fine stemmed forage rape that is widely adapted. It has tolerance to cold, heat and drought. The highly palatable forage produces up to 20% protein and can be grazed 6-8 weeks after planting. It can be re-grazed at 30 day intervals, if given adequate time, nutrition and moisture. Fast germination and growth make it ideal for weed suppression, reducing surface compaction, and winter cover. Rape makes a companion for radish to give longer staying power for preservation of the scavenged nutrients. Dwarf Essex Rape helps hold these nutrients for the next crop better than does radish.
- Needs at least 8 weeks of growth
- Provides good ground cover
- Winter hardy to 20 degrees F
- Will regrow if cut before bloom
Dwarf Essex Rape Seed can be planted late spring to early fall. Allow at least 45 days of growth before you plan to use the forage. For multiple grazings, plant in late spring. Plant in the early fall for – single late fall or early winter grazing, similar to stockpiling fescue. Dwarf Essex Rape Seed can be no tilled or drilled into a firm seedbed in conventional tillage and should be seeded at ¼ to ½ inch deep. To alleviate weed pressure, start with a weed free field as there are no herbicides that can be applied to a typical oats/brassica planting. Seed can be broadcast and incorporated by cultipacking. Dwarf Essex Rape will smother out most weeds once they are established. They can be successfully no-till seeded at a lower rate into established pastures. Dwarf Essex Rape is not well adapted to wet or poorly drained soils.
Since Dwarf Essex Rape is very high in crude protein and energy and low in fiber, animals may need some roughage in the form of dry hay or mature pasture if they are eating pure stands. Mixing the Dwarf Essex Rape with cereal grains or sudangrass can solve the problem as well. Excessive fertilization of both nitrogen and potassium should be avoided. Usually, 50 units of N is enough to grow a wonderful crop of Dwarf Essex Rape. Apply at least 20 lbs/acre (22 kg/ha) of sulfur before planting or as a spring top dressing if fall planted. Dwarf Essex Rape is very good at recycling nutrients left by previous crops. A good practice is to prevent brassica consumption in dairy animals two hours prior to milking to prevent off flavors in the milk. Dwarf Essex Rape overwinters in many regions and will make a good winter grazing crop or cover crop.
Tags: Brassicas, Rape