Kale variety offers improved digestibility and feed value

Kale variety offers improved digestibility and feed value
26 Mar 2018

A kale variety that’s been launched this spring offers improved digestibility and feed value compared with some older varieties of the crop. Bombardier, from Limagrain UK, has a softer and more digestible stem than many other kale varieties and this contributes to higher energy value and better crop utilisation.

Bred to improve utilisation of both leaf and stem, this variety offers a digestibility of 72.2% and a dry matter content of 13.5%, based on trials carried out by the company. It has a relative dry matter yield of 18% above the control variety.

Dry matter yield

“Marrow stem kales are highly digestible and have better dry matter yields than intermediate and shorter stem varieties,” says Limagrain UK’s forage crop manager Martin Titley. “This makes them suitable forages for both beef and dairy cows.”

Poor stem quality has often limited the value and attractiveness of kale as a forage for livestock. “The stem proportion may be between 60% and 70% of the total yield,” explains Mr Titley. “Poor stem quality can, therefore, reduce the utilisation of the crop and its feed value.

Liveweight gain

“In the past, producers have faced a dilemma when it comes to kale. If the kale crop is grazed well, then crop utilisation is good. But the poor feed value in the stem will limit liveweight gain. A less well-grazed crop, where a proportion of the stem is left, will achieve better liveweight gains but poorer crop utilisation.

“Bombardier, that offers more digestible stems with added feed value and utilisation potential, can overcome this dilemma.”

The company is offering a free 500-gramme trial pack of Bombardier to the first 50 producers to register.