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Turnips taking off after drought

Turnips taking off after drought

For immediate release With photos from Agriseeds

Farmers nationwide are turning to an old strategy in a new way this spring to help accelerate drought recovery and improve production at the same time.

After a long hiatus summer turnips are back with a vengeance, and seed is already selling fast.

Better husbandry techniques have helped turnips lose their old hit and miss reputation, and with potential yields of up to 12 - 16 t DM/ha, many farmers are cropping extra paddocks this spring as they try to catch up on feed shortages left by the drought.

"Now that spring has finally arrived, farmers are seeing the true state of their paddocks after a very difficult year. It wasn't just the drought, although that has killed many pastures. Grass grub was also very bad last season," points out Richard Doney, upper North Island area manager for Agriseeds.

A crop of Dynamo has the potential to grow twice as much DM per ha as drought-damaged pastures, and can do so at one of the most important times of the year - summer.

"It's one way of clawing back some feed that otherwise would not be there," Richard says. "It's high quality tucker, too. At the same time it sets you up perfectly for new permanent pasture in autumn, because working up a paddock for Dynamo is a great way of controlling rubbishy grass weeds like browntop and cocksfoot."

The timing also means new pastures will be ready for grazing by April, which offers the potential for more days in milk.

"You can't get better grazing than new pasture after brassicas, even if you sow an Italian instead of a perennial pasture."

Farmers in irrigated regions like Canterbury have realised another key advantage turnips use water when it's most likely available to grow feed that can be grazed when the irrigators might have to be turned off later in the season.

"This is a really efficient way of utilising irrigation," says Jason Gardner, Agriseeds upper South Island area manager. "And when every drop is under scrutiny this sort of planning and management helps make the most of an essential resource."

He and Richard Doney say attention to detail is everything when it comes to producing great crops.

"Fertility, moisture, weed and pest control, seedbed preparation and sowing depth all contribute to your final result. It's worth taking time to tick all the boxes."

Dynamo is available now for spring sowing. For more advice talk to your seed merchant.


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