Saturday, August 24, 2019

Limagrain launches new rape kale hybrid variety

August 8, 2019 by  
Filed under Livestock

A new rape kale hybrid brassica launched by Limagrain UK can be sown after cereals in July or August, says the breeder.

Unicorn is said to be a fast- growing leafy catch crop backed with outstanding results from UK trials placing it. Limagrain has placed 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 49,500MJ per hectare, and a dry matter content of 12.4% were recorded in trials with Unicorn carried out at Limagrain UK’s Lincolnshire site in 2018. Dry matter yield was 11% above the control variety.

“These yields were recorded in the dry conditions of 2018,” says Limagrain 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 kilogrammes per hectare or broadcasting at six to seven kilogrammes 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,” says Mr Titley. “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, Unicorn is easy to grow and benefits from farmyard manure or a slurry application pre-sowing. If these aren’t available, then 60-90kg of nitrogen with 25kg/ha each of potassium and phosphate can be applied.

“We’re seeing a significant interest in rape and kale hybrids because of their flexible sowing period and high feed values,” says Mr Titley. Like Interval, it has some tolerance to alternaria and mildew, he adds.