As farmers try to replenish the shortage of fodder, demand for Westworlds is at a record high in the UK. This is according to DLF Seeds, which is also predicting a similar demand in Ireland following the announcement of the Fodder Production Incentive by Minister Creed.
Stock can be grazing within eight to 10 weeks
As many farmers have used or failed to harvest some of their winter feed, there is a large deficit developing across the UK and Ireland. DLF says the demand for Westerwolds is driven by the need to fill this gap and because it is one of the most vigorous grass varieties on the market.
“Westerwolds is the most vigorous grass variety out there – once it's sown and has germinated, stock can be grazing within eight to 10 weeks,” explains David Rhodes, technical manager at DLF. “That compares with a wait of around 12 weeks with perennial ryegrass, so it’s unsurprising that demand has rocketed."
Outlining the performance of Westerwolds, he said it would yield 2-5t/ha in autumn. Those fields could then be closed for a cut of silage in spring, before sowing spring crops. This, Rhodes says, makes it capable of growing up to 20t DM/ha in its first year.
Ideally, the crop should be sown from August to early September. However, it can be drilled up to the second week in October once a maize crop has been harvested.
“You can plough and prepare as usual or simply harrow and roll it into a decent seedbed. Once it’s up and away, it becomes the perfect solution to the feed gap that farmers are experiencing,” Rhodes concluded.
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