31 May 1996

Kales a good protein source

KALEAGE is a good source of protein that will complement maize or grass silage and can be grown almost anywhere.

Devon milk producer Ron Patey said kale for baling in round bales could be drilled now after first-cut for baling in 12 weeks.

But he advised producers to follow the guidelines for growing the crop. "Seed rate and germination are critical. Then, provided the height of stubble is right, it is all left to the baling," he said.

Seed rate needed to be high to produce a dense crop so that the stalks were thin and would not stick through the bale wrap.

Last year his crop yielded 25t/ha (10t/acre) of bales at 22% dry matter, pH 4.25, 22% crude protein, 11.5 ME with a D-value of 70. "But the cows will tell you there is more protein in kaleage than the analysis suggests," he said.

Mr Patey is drilling 12ha (29 acres) of kale after first-cut silage for his 80 cows for feeding as over one-third of the cows winter diet.

Ron Patey… More protein in kaleage than analysis suggests.