26 January 1996

Use winter-sown cereals

SHEEP producers short of silage or hay can use winter-sown cereals as a source of forage, provided the crops have not yet reached growth stage 30, according to Signet consultant Gwyn Howells.

Recent research puts the energy value of green cereals at 11-12MJ/kg dry matter. Sheep can be expected to get their full nutritional requirements by grazing a standing crop up to three weeks before lambing.

"If the crop growth stage will permit grazing, sheep should be introduced in dry weather. Stock heavily for not more than five days to reduce proud growth to three to four cm if possible, and extend the grazing period when the weather is dry or the soil free draining," he adds. Consider dagging sheep prior to putting them onto a crop.

It is also important not to graze within 14 days of a foliar fungicide spray, such as Tridermorph. More information from Signet consultant Gwyn Howells (01970-890509).