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Turnip Pasture For Livestock
After Stan Simmons read about turnips as a pasture crop, he decided last year to try the crop on his Fairfield, Iowa farm. He liked the results so well he plans to expand his 3 acre patch to 10 acres this year.
Simmons explains that turnips offer a reasonably priced pasture crop that livestock really like. His input costs were $8/acre for seed and about $15/ acre for fertilizer. He didn't have any weed control costs.
To prepare the seedbed, Simmons chisel plowed and disced the ground. He mixed the turnip seeds, which are the size of an alfalfa seed, with a dry fertilizer blend, applying the combination with a fertilizer spreader. He then went over the soil with a harrow and a roller to incorporate the seed.
"I applied the seed at the rate of 4 lbs. per acre, planting the crop in late July. This year I'll probably plant oats first, harvest them in July and then plant the turnips."
Simmons grew the edible purple top variety which grows to be about 6 in. in dia. and have greens which are about a foot high.
He pastured 60 ewes and a few hogs on the pasture land. "The sheep loved the tops. They pulled some of the turnips out of the ground and the ones they couldn't pull out they ate right down into the ground to get at so there are cup shaped holes in the pasture," reports Simmons.

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1985 - Volume #9, Issue #3