The potential of forage brassicas to produce herbage for mixed farming systems

Lucy Watt1, 4, Lindsay Bell1, Brett Cocks1, Tony Swan2, Andrew Toovey3

1 Agriculture & Food, CSIRO, 203 Tor Street, TOOWOOMBA, QLD, 4350

2 Agriculture & Food, CSIRO, Black Mountain, 2-40 Clunies Ross Street, ACTON, ACT, 2601

3 Agriculture & Food, CSIRO, 147 Underwood Avenue, FLOREAT, WA, 6014


Forage brassicas are not commonly utilised in Australian mixed farming systems. Integrating forage brassicas into these systems may improve crop rotations and livestock productivity, but their adoption is limited mostly due to a lack of knowledge of the most suitable species and the potential systems benefits from their use. In seven field experiments carried out in 2011-2013 (Phase 1) and 2018 (Phase 2) across a range of environments, including Eastern and Western Darling Downs QLD, North West and Central West NSW, and Avon Wheatbelt WA, the biomass production of a range of forage brassica species were compared with other annual forage benchmark species. In Phase 1, forage rape cultivars were able to produce 80-90% of the biomass of forage cereal controls, but there were some differences between the diverse forage brassica types across growing environments. In Phase 2, Experiments 4, 5 and 7, several of the forage brassicas produced similar (P > 0.05) maximum biomass as forage oats. Conversely, in Experiment 6, maximum biomass of forage oats was higher (P < 0.001) than all other species. Maximum biomass of raphanobrassica cv. Pallaton and forage rape cv. HT-R24 were similar (P > 0.05) to forage oats at three of the four sites, whilst performance of the other forage brassicas was variable between sites.



The Australian Society of Agronomy is the professional body for agronomists in Australia. It has approximately 500 active members drawn from government, universities, research organisations and the private sector.

Photo Credits

David Marland Photography Graham Centre for Agricultural Innovation, Charles Sturt University

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