Dwarf Essex Rape Seed For Deer Food Plots - Brassicas

Dwarf Essex Rape Seed

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Dwarf Essex Rape - A forage brassica plant which is used extensively in deer food plots and for livestock grazing. Rape is a fast growing brassica that is heat, cold and drought tolerant. Rape becomes more attractive to deer after a frost because the sugar content will become more concentrated. Dwarf Essex Rape is a green leafy fast growing plant that produces large flat leafs that will grow between 12 to 20 inches long and 8 to 15 inches wide and may grow to a height of two to four feet. Forage produced can contain 18 - 20% crude protein. Good cold tolerance allows for harvesting or grazing late into the fall and winter.  

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 between 5.5 and 8.3 is preferred. 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

8 - 10 lbs per acre and plant 1/4 inch deep