IT'S been the Holy Grail for Scottish farmers – the ability to grow two crops in one season – and now a new hybrid brassica, Skyfall, from Limagrain UK, can provide dairy and beef cattle with just that.

Sown between May and July, it will provide a highly nutritious leafy forage crop for grazing in 12-14 weeks. In trials, it produced between 30 and 35 tonnes/ha of a palatable soft-leaved forage.

The secret of its double cropping capability comes from when it is sown in the earlier part of the growing season. After that, it can be grazed once and then closed up for regrowth before a second grazing period later in the season.

“Skyfall has deep narrow roots, which means that it can thrive in drier soils throughout summer,” said Limagrain’s forage crop director, Martin Titley. “This deep rooting system and the crop’s hybrid vigour supports regrowth, enabling it to ‘bounce back’ and provide a second grazing crop.

“For example, a crop sown in early May can be grazed by the end of July and into August before being closed up for six to eight weeks for regrowth. It can then be grazed – for a second time – in late September and October.

“To maximise the ‘bounce back’ potential of this hybrid brassica, 30kg/ha to 40kg/ha of nitrogen should be applied to the crop after the first grazing,” added Mr Titley.

Regrowth can also be maximised by back-fencing the initial crop, ensuring some leaf and growing points are retained to allow regrowth to occur.

This hybrid brassica can also be used as part of a grass reseed programme, sown after first-cut silage or spring grazing. “Rather than reseed immediately, Skyfall can be sown and grazed through summer and autumn and then followed with a grass reseed. This will provide a break in the grass crop that disrupts the pest cycle and provides a natural control system.”

The hybrid brassica should be sown into a moist, fine seedbed at a rate of 5kg/ha and it will also benefit from applications of slurry and farm yard manure prior to drilling.

Introduced for 2019, there are only limited supplies of seed available for this year, advised Limagrain.