Limagrain UK has launched Skyfall this spring; a new hybrid brassica for dairy and beef cattle that can provide two crops in a season. Sown between May and July, it will provide a highly nutritious leafy forage crop for grazing in 12 weeks. In trials Skyfall has produced between 30 and 35 tonnes/ha of a palatable soft-leaved forage. Where the crop is sown in the earlier part of the growing season, it can be grazed once and then closed up for regrowth before a second grazing period later in the season.
“Skyfall has deep narrow roots, which means that it can thrive in drier soils through summer,” says Limagrain’s forage crop director Martin Titley. “This deep rooting system and the crop’s hybrid vigour supports regrowth, enabling it to ‘bounce back’ and provide a second grazing crop.
“For example, a crop sown in early May can be grazed by the end of July and into August before being closed up for six to eight weeks for regrowth. It can then be grazed – for a second time – in late September and October. “To maximise the ‘bounce back’ potential of this hybrid brassica, 30kg/ha to 40kg/ha of nitrogen should be applied to the crop after the first grazing,” adds Mr Titley.
Regrowth can also be maximised by back-fencing the initial crop, ensuring some leaf and growing points are retained to allow regrowth to occur.
This hybrid brassica is an ideal crop to use as part of a grass reseed programme, sown after first-cut silage or spring grazing. “Rather than reseed immediately, Skyfall can be sown and grazed through summer and autumn, and then followed with a grass reseed. This will provide a break in the grass crop that disrupts the pest cycle and provides a natural control system.”
Skyfall should be sown into a moist, fine seedbed at a rate of 5kg/ha. It will also benefit from applications of slurry and FYM prior to drilling.