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Grazing turnips

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Texan

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Anybody here had any experience grazing turnips? Preferably, light calves. I'd be interested in reading your advice and experiences.

They seem like they would be fairly cheap to establish, but one of my concerns is the damn hogs. If anybody in hog country has tried them, how did that work?
 

cowwrangler

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no hogs here but i graze the cows on them all the time,they take a lil bit for the cows to get used to them but after that they love them,after the cows have them grazed i work the feilds and the cows are like gulls following behind looking for ones theymissed,lol
 

Hillrider

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I have been grazing purple top turnips in a 12 species covercrop cocktail for about three years. Mostly cows or pairs in the fall. A pound of turnip seed has alot of individual seeds so it doesn't take alot of pounds per acre. The leaves are high in protein and the whole plant has a low carbon to nitrogen ratio. The increased microbial activity from the brassicas (turnip, radish, rape) will accelerate the decompostion of any crop residue in the field, so it is a real good idea to plant it in a mixture. Your small grain stubble will deteriorate during the winter to the point the field could blow if you plant straight turnips or turnip, radish, rape mix without putting something like oats, millet, sudan. Burleigh County Conservation District is the authority in this area. Google them. Bismark North Dakota. The cattle eat both the leaves and the tubors quite well.
 

redrobin

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real men don't eat quiche and real cows don't graze turnips. :lol:
Do you boil them for them?
 

Texan

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I guess turnips aren't all that popular for grazing. Thanks for the responses.

Well....except for that last one:

redrobin said:
real men don't eat quiche and real cows don't graze turnips. :lol:
Do you boil them for them?

I had to google "quiche" to see what the hell it is. That's when I realized that I HAD heard of it before, but that it isn't pronounced the way that it is spelled. So, I would go so far to say that not only do real men not eat it, a real man probably wouldn't have even known how to spell it.
 

Big Swede

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I planted a mixture of oats, turnips, radishes, and sudan grass this summer that I plan to fenceline wean calves on this fall. I've never done it before so I hope it works. It grew really well and there is a lot of forage out there, but I was wondering if I need to supply some grass hay for more dry matter? Any thoughts Hillrider?
 

Faster horses

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I'm not hillrider, but I think adding some grass hay would be
a good plan. Even if you just sat some bales out there for them
to kinda pick at as they went by. It sure helps in spring when
the grass is green and dry matter is in short supply.

It might take the calves a bit to know what it is, is all...
we generally feed some hay to the cows while the calves are
still on them, so that they know what hay is.

FWIW
 

Mike

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Hogs love 'em. Especially when they're older and get big fat roots.

They'll have it plowed up for your next crop.......................

A good hot strand of wire would help.
 

Hillrider

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Big Swede,

I think that would be a good idea. I'm thinking about doing something similar this fall. I hope to fenceline wean in the pasture and then move to the covercrop mixes later. Around here it froze awhile back so the sudan and millets are drying down and might provide more dry matter. I really don't know how concerned to be, I listened to a fellow a couple of winters ago who just weaned the calves and kicked them out in about 25 acres of his mix. Must have had alot of sudan because he said the calves just disappeared. He seemed to like the results.

When I have grazed stock cows on the mixes they usually have access to cornstalks, dry grass or hay. All of which they will leave on the run when you give them access to fresh cc mix acres.

I am told it is best to use the old 'take half leave half' rule with the cc too. Gotta feed the soil microbes to increase organic matter. One part of organic matter holds something like ten parts water.

Good luck.
 

Big Swede

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Thanks Hillrider, good advice. My nutritionist is trying to convince me to start the calves on creep feeders and then continue while on the cover crop. He says their is plenty of protein but what they need to gain well is energy. I told him I'm not going for maximum gain, just an easier transition from moma to feed. What do you think about the energy of the cover crop. The oats is trying to head so there is some grain out there.
 

Hillrider

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Like you, I'm not looking for maximum gain. I'd like to see them put on 3/4 of a pound per day, or maybe only a 1/2 pound, so I am not too concerned about energy at this point. I might look at that differently when it is cold and windy. I am trying to move away from purchasing processed feeds and toward letting them put the weight on with grass then next spring. That being said, I am prepared to pull calves from the group who are struggling and feed them better.

Maybe a forage test would better answer this question.
 

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