Plant Turnips For Winter Grazing

Plant Turnips For Winter Grazing

July 25, 2008

If you're interested in planting turnips into wheat or oat stubble for a high quality pasture, now is the time to plant them.

Turnips provide good grazing beginning in October and often lasting into the new year. Also, they are cheap to plant, with seed costing less than $10 per acre.

Planting TurnipsSeedbed preparation and planting can be done several ways. Some turnip growers work soil like a fully prepared alfalfa seedbed. Others heavily disk their ground, but leave it fairly rough before broadcasting seed. A few growers spray glyphosate or Gramoxone on wheat or oat stubble to kill weeds and then plant no-till.

Whatever method you choose, good early weed control is essential. Turnips do poorly if weeds get ahead of them, but once started, turnips compete very well. Since no herbicides are labeled for turnips, weeds must be controlled either by tillage or by using contact herbicides like glyphosate or Gramoxone before planting.

Plant only 2 to 4 pounds of turnip seed per acre. Turnip seed is very small, so barely cover it. If you drill your seed, just scratch the surface with your openers. Simply broadcasting seed onto tilled soils works well for many growers, especially on rough seedbeds where rainfall or irrigation washes soil onto the seeds for soil coverage.

With a few timely rains you will have excellent green feed for late October, November, and December.

Bruce Anderson
Extension Forage Specialist