Limagrain UK is launching Unicorn, a new rape kale hybrid brassica, this month. Bred by Limagrain, Unicorn is a fast-growing leafy catch crop. It is backed with outstanding results from UK trials that place it as one of the best performing rape kale hybrid brassicas available to UK livestock producers.
Energy values of 11.2 MJ per kilo of dry matter producing 49,500 MJ per hectare and dry matter content of 12.4% were recorded in trials carried out at Limagrain UK’s Lincolnshire site in 2018. The dry matter yield was 11% above the control variety.
“These yields were recorded in the dry conditions of 2018,” says Limagrain’s forage crop director, Martin Titley. “Crops were sown in May and harvested in November. While many other forage crops struggled in the dry conditions, Unicorn coped with the drier conditions and ranks as one of the top rape kale hybrid varieties for key parameters, such as yield and energy content, alongside the established rape kale hybrid variety, Interval.
Unicorn can be sown from May until late August – either by direct drilling at five to six kilograms per hectare, or broadcasting at six to seven kilograms per hectare. The crop should be ready for grazing within 14 weeks.
“It’s an ideal variety to include in a grassland rotation or for sowing after cereals in July or August. And it offers an ideal feed for finishing lambs, or for ewes or dairy cattle in late summer to early winter.”
As a hybrid brassica, it’s easy to grow and benefits from farmyard manure or a slurry application pre-sowing. If these aren’t available, then 60kg to 90kg of nitrogen with 25kg each of potassium and phosphate per hectare, can be applied.
“We’re seeing significant interest in rape and kale hybrids because of their flexible sowing period and high feed values,” adds Mr. Titley. “Unicorn is an attractive addition for this summer as conditions to date are dry. Like Interval, it has some tolerance to Alternaria and Mildew.”