Growing successful brassica crops - and what about fodder beet?
The Forage Brassica Development Group (FBDG) is a farmer-based organisation funded by the MAF Sustainable Farming Fund, Dairy NZ, Meat and Wool NZ and Pasture Partners. From 2006- 2009 we conducted experiments, field days and workshops on brassica agronomy throughout NZ, with the main recommendations and conclusions being summarized in a booklet entitled ‘Management practices for forage bassicas’ by John de Ruiter et al. This booklet is the key reference for the paper I am presenting today. Our experiences would suggest that the success or failure of a brassica crop is determined by the planning and preparation conducted in the month or so prior to sowing, sowing the crop in a husband like manner and finally what happens in the fortnight after sowing. A few timely rains can help, but consistent and reliable yields are the result of attention to detail: luck has very little to do with it. In this paper I will therefore concentrate on establishment, but also yield assessment as in our experience the latter is often assumed or not taken seriously. Growers seeking information on other topics and issues especially cultivars and utilisation should refer to the booklet.... [Show full abstract]