The winter of 2017/early 2018 has left many farms across the UK with a significant forage shortage. That, coupled with the late Spring, has resulted in first cut silage coming later and with lower yields. If you would like to achieve greater success with your late summer and winter forage this year, then we would recommend trying out a root crop. In this post we will explore the various root crops and mixtures that we offer, their key features and when best to sow and utilise them.

Root Mixtures

At South West Seeds we offer two very popular root mixtures which are great for filling in the forage gap: ‘Early Sow’, and ‘Late Sow’.

Early Sow

-Sow - You can sow this from April - Mid September
-Utilise - Utilise from July - December

Late Sow

-Sow - You can sow this from mid July - mid September
-Utilise - Utilise from December - February (Late Sow can be taken through to March by substituting Stubble Turnip for Green Globe Turnip)



Kale is a traditional cattle grazing brassica which is more suitable for cooler sites. The variety of Kale that we offer is called ‘Inka’, which is a marrow stem type that produces high yields. Kales can either be ‘fed in situ’, cut and fed in the shed or farm or alternatively ensiled for the winter.

-Sow - You can sow Kale from April - July
-Utilise - Utilise from September - March

Forage Rape

Forage Rape is quick to establish and offers rapid growth. The variety of rape that we provide is ‘Mosa’. Mosa is a re-growth type, is late flowering and shows early vigour. Mosa has compact leaves and a short stem and is highly digestible.

Stubble Turnips

Stubble Turnips are very quick to establish and can be sown from the early summer, depending on how much moisture there is in the soil. They take on average 100 days to establish. We offer two types of Stubble Turnips: ‘Frisia’, and ‘Whitestar’.


Frisia is a large purple root which stands well above the ground, offering good anchorage. In addition to that, it has excellent winter hardiness and is highly resistant to mildew and club root.


Whitestar has a good white round globe, standing well above the ground which provides good anchorage, clean lifting and a lower dirt tare. In addition to that, Whitestar has an all-round resistance to disease.



Swedes are a high energy crop and are highly palatable. These can either be fed in situ or lifted and stored in a clamp to be kept as silage. Swedes will grow in most soil types with sufficient drainage and no compaction. Swedes are sensitive to pH, so a level of around 6.5pH is recommended. We provide two varieties of Swede: ‘Airlie’, and ‘Kenmore’.


Airlie is a highly popular variety of Swede as it can be used as either culinary or animal fodder. It has purple skin and creamy white flesh.


Kenmore is an early variety of Swede with bronze skin and white flesh. This type of Swede is ideal for grazing sheep in situ, or lifting for cattle.

-Sow - You can Sow Swede from April - June
-Utilise - Utilise from August - March

We hope that you find this post helpful and wish you the very best of luck with your late summer and winter forage this year. If you have any questions or would like further information on the various root crops and mixtures that we offer, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us - we’re always happy to help.

Post By Lauren