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Brassicas for Lamb Growth

Feeding brassicas of any description has seen a massive resurgence in recent years. This can bring significant financial gains to any farm business if done correctly due to keeping livestock out of the sheds to reduce the housed period. Brassicas can help shift the spring grass surplus to the autumn when you require more grazing, whilst offering a consistently high ME feed with proteins ranging between 16 and 24%.

Ensure the field that you will be using for brassicas has no underlying drainage or fertility problems so you can maximise the benefits and ensure success. Ideally have a grass field that can be used as a run back so livestock have the opportunity to rest on a clean base. Lambs should really be bellied out before being introduced on to any brassicas to help with the cleanliness and any lame animals need to be pulled out from the group and taken off the system. Figures of between 50 and 70% dmi are generally used so a good source of roughage needs to be made available aswell.

brassicas sheep

To maximise lamb growth, always ensure a clean water supply and an iodised rock salt is available to encourage salivation. If you are growing a “Root Crop” then additional protein may be required however if growing a “Leafy Crop”, then more energy may be required to maximise growth rates. NWF feed specialists can provide advice and support on growing crops and rectify any short falls in protein or energy.

Trace elements will also need to be supplemented to avoid any potential issues as brassicas will not supply enough for the growing animal, In particular Iodine and Selenium, Copper may also be required but only after seeking the correct veterinary advice.

The 2021 NWF Grass Seed and Forage Guide provides information on the range of seeds available to maximise forage intakes. To receive a copy, call 0800 756 2787 or email nbteam@nwfagriculture.co.uk

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