Brassica Forage Rape Seed For Deer Food Plots

Rape Brassica Seed

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Brassica Rape Seed

Many varieties of Brassica napus have been developed over the years. It is related to mustard, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower and turnip.  A few of the most common names are Rape, Rapeseed, Oilseed Rape, and Colza. It is often harvested for the seed which then is used to produce Canola oil. The oil is used in cooking, soap making, and as lamp fuel. Some rapeseed has industrial uses as in bio-fuels and lubricants.

Our Rape seed is a canola type, but it is used to provide excellent forage for livestock, deer and game birds. Rapeseed is a fast growing brassica that is adapted to the United States. It is heat, cold and drought tolerant and emerges quickly to produce a lush stand of succulent bio-mass.  Rape provides several benefits in a diverse food plot program – especially in winter when other forage may be dormant. In fact, rape becomes more palatable and attractive to wildlife after a few frosts because the sugar content will become more concentrated.

Rapeseed also can be used effectively as a winter cover crop. Its deep tap roots are excellent at breaking soil compaction. The deep roots also help to scavenge after nutrients that are deep within the soil profile. The large amount of bio-mass that rape produces makes it a great green manure. Rape is becoming more and more widely used in cover crops and crop rotations because it establishes quickly, suppresses weed growth, and helps reduce soil erosion. In addition, all brassicas have been shown to release bio-toxic compounds that help with pest suppression.

Rapeseed is a cool season annual that is very adaptable to different soil types and climates. It prefers a well-drained, loamy soil, but it can grow almost anywhere. It does not do well with soils that do not drain or flood. A neutral pH is preferred, 6 to 7. Rapeseed responds very well to nitrogen, and it may require two applications if it is planted alone. If planted with legumes, a single application of nitrogen can be applied at planting.

The best planting time for forage rapeseed is August (for northern climates) through October (for southern climates). Ideally, there would be 8 weeks for establishment before frosts begin. Germination is best when the soil temperatures are 65 to 70 degrees F. A smooth, firm surface is best before broadcasting the seed. If no-till planting, it’s best to kill the existing vegetation a few weeks prior to planting. This will eliminate competition from weeds and ensure the best seed to soil contact. In the south, it can also be planted in the spring as long as the soil temperature is warm. When planted in the spring, it flowers in 128 days on average, and the bright yellow blooms are excellent for pollinators.

Rape:

  • Early maturing, 10-12 weeks
  • High leaf:stem ratio for excellent utilisation rates
  • Regrowth potential for 3-4 grazings
  • Retains leaf and stem quality in frost and cold conditions
  • Tolerant of dry conditions
  • Ideal for summer, autumn and winter feed

5 - 10 lbs per acre and plant 1/4 inch deep