Plant Turnips for Winter Grazing

Extending your grazing season into fall and winter often pays big dividends. Turnips provide good grazing beginning in October and often last into the new year. Turnips are cheap to plant. Seed can cost less than five dollars per acre now is the time to plant turnips for fall grazing.

Seedbed preparation and planting can be done several ways. Some turnip growers work soil like a fully prepared alfalfa seedbed. Others heavily disk their ground, but leave it fairly rough. A few growers spray Roundup or Gramoxone on wheat or oat stubble to kill weeds and then plant no-till.

Whatever method you choose, good early weed control is essential. Turnips do poorly if weeds get ahead of them, but once started, turnips compete very well. Since no herbicides are labeled for turnips, weeds must be controlled either by tillage or by using contact herbicides like Roundup or Gramoxone before planting. Then plant quickly to get the turnips off and running.

Plant only 1 to 3 pounds of turnip seed per acre. Turnip seed is very small, so barely cover it. If you drill your seed, just scratch the surface with your openers. Broadcasting works well for many growers, especially onto rough seedbeds where rainfall washes soil onto the seeds for soil coverage.

Then wait. With a few timely rains you will have excellent green feed for October, November, and December.