Soil First® Cover Crop Brassicas

Our premium brassica cover crop options are designed and selected to meet the needs of growers and landowners looking to increase productivity by preserving and bettering their soils. From our extremely popular Soil First® Select Radish and our Cover Crop Solutions® Tillage Radish® to rapeseed, turnips or Vivant Hybrid Brassica, we have you covered.

Radish

Radish is an upright, cool season annual broadleaf. Perhaps no cover crop species has been planted on more acres recently than radish, for good reason. Radish tubers and taproots reduce compaction and scavenge excess nutrients left in the soil from cash crops. Radish stands suppress weed growth, reduce soil and wind erosion, and increase soil microbial activity, especially when mixed with a grass or small grain cover crop. Tolerant of many kinds of manure, radish work especially well after late summer applications.

There are two ‘types’ of radish. Daikons are strong biomass producers making them great for fall grazing. Daikons (like Soil First® Select and Tillage Radish®) are bred to produce a deep taproot. Some oilseed radish varieties (like Image) provide the additional advantage of suppressing nematode populations. Oilseed varieties typically do not produce as deep of a vertical taproot, but still alleviate soil compaction with their lateral taproots and fibrous root system.

Rapeseed

Rapeseed is an upright, cool season and/or winter annual broadleaf. Rapeseed is versatile enough to be planted in the spring for a summer cover, or may be used in fall for a winter cover crop. Rapeseed works great as a dual-purpose crop, adapting to a wide range of soil types and conditions. Rapeseed tends to be extremely drought-tolerant and stands frost better than many brassicas. Because of its winter hardiness, it’s common for growers to get multiple grazing cycles when feeding rapeseed.

Turnips

Turnips are an upright, cool season broadleaf which make the perfect dual purpose cover crop. Their tubers and roots penetrate the soil and cycle nutrients. Early fall planted turnips provide a massive amount of dry matter, while helping to control erosion and suppress weeds. They also work great as a forage crop, especially when mixed with small grains to extend the fall grazing period. While popular options like purple top turnips have large bulbs or tubers, some varieties are bred for a lesser bulb size and larger tops. These options work especially well in grazing environments, and depending on how quickly they regrow, some varieties even allow for multiple grazing cycles into the fall and winter months.

Radish

Non-Forage Benefits (5=Excellent):

Compaction Alleviation: 5
Weed Suppression: 5
Biomass Production: 4
Erosion Control: 4
Disease/Pest Control: 3
Pollinator/Beneficials: 2
P & K Cycling: 4
Ease of Establishment: 5
Nitrogen Fixer/Scavenger: Scavenger

Nutritional Value:
Crude Protein: 18
NEL¹ Mcal/lb.: .73
ADF%²: 26
NDF%³: 21
TDN: 70
DM Tons/Acre: 2-4
Days to First Harvest: 45
Days to Next Harvest: –

Ranking (Good, Better, Best):
Graze: Best
Baleage: Not Rated
Chop: Good

Rapeseed

Non-Forage Benefits (5=Excellent):

Compaction Alleviation: 5
Weed Suppression: 3
Biomass Production: 4
Erosion Control: 4
Disease/Pest Control: 4
Pollinator/Beneficials: 4
P & K Cycling: 4
Ease of Establishment: 5
Nitrogen Fixer/Scavenger: Scavenger

Nutritional Value:

Crude Protein: 14
NEL¹ Mcal/lb.: TBD
ADF%²: 28
NDF%³: 41
TDN: 57
DM Tons/Acre: 1.5-4
Days to First Harvest: 60-80
Days to Next Harvest: –

Turnips

Non-Forage Benefits (5=Excellent):

Compaction Alleviation: 3
Weed Suppression: 5
Biomass Production: 4
Erosion Control: 3
Disease/Pest Control: 3
Pollinator/Beneficials: 3
P & K Cycling: 3
Ease of Establishment: 5
Nitrogen Fixer/Scavenger: Scavenger

Nutritional Value:

Crude Protein: 16
NEL¹ Mcal/lb.: .70
ADF%²: 23
NDF%³: 20
TDN: 69
DM Tons/Acre: 2-5
Days to First Harvest: 60-80
Days to Next Harvest: –

Nutritional values vary greatly depending on maturity
¹- Net Energy for Lactation = Energy available after subtracting digestive and metabolic losses
²- Acid Detergent Fiber = Low values mean more digestible
³- Neutral Detergent Fiber = Low values mean cows can eat more

Radish

Planting Time:
Aug.-Sept.

Seeding Rate:
Mono (lbs./acre): 3-8
Mix (lbs./acre): 1-3
Forage (lbs./acre): 5-8

Seeding Info:
Carbon/Nitrogen Ratio (C:N): Tops- 9:1
Seeding Depth (in./with drill): 1/4
Seeds/lb.: 30-40,000
Bulk Density (lbs/ft³): 44
Aerial Application Rate: 3-8
Germination Soil Temp.: 45 F
USDA Hardiness Zone: 9
Days to Emergence: 3-5

Rapeseed

Planting Time:
Apr.-May; Aug.-Sept.

Seeding Rate:
Mono (lbs./acre): 4-6
Mix (lbs./acre): 2-4
Forage (lbs./acre): 6-8

Seeding Info:
Carbon/Nitrogen Ratio (C:N): 20:1-22:1
Seeding Depth (in./with drill): 1/4-1/2
Seeds/lb.: 145,000
Bulk Density (lbs/ft): 45
Aerial Application Rate: 5-8
Germination Soil Temp.: 41 F
USDA Hardiness Zone: 5
Days to Emergence: 4-10

Turnips

Planting Time:
Aug.-Sept.

Seeding Rate:
Mono (lbs./acre): 2-6
Mix (lbs./acre): 2-4
Forage (lbs./acre): 3-8

Seeding Info:
Carbon/Nitrogen Ratio (C:N): Tops- 9:1
Seeding Depth (in./with drill): 1/4
Seeds/lb.: 220,000
Bulk Density (lbs/ft³): 45
Aerial Application Rate: 2-6
Germination Soil Temp.: 45 F
USDA Hardiness Zone: 6-7
Days to Emergence: 4-10

Radish

  • Benefits from nitrogen applications (30-60# N). Depending on goal, adding nitrogen and other nutrients may or may not be needed.
  • Grow best in pH 6–7.5
  • Avoid using radish in cropping systems with other brassicas (disease bridge –club root)
  • Radish produce a compound when decaying that omits an odor similar to natural gas

Rapeseed

  • Rapeseed can be more difficult to control with glyphosate
  • Prefers soils with a pH 5.8-8.0
  • Rapeseed may attract some non-beneficial pests

Turnips

  • Grows best in pH 5.5-6.8
  • Avoid using radish in cropping systems with other brassicas (disease bridge- club root)
  • Turnips should be combined with other forages, namely lesser digestible grass or dry hay in ruminant animals (to prevent potential livestock disorders)
  • Introduce livestock to turnips slowly

Brassicas Products