Premier Forage Kale
- Cold-Hardy Green
- High nutrient value. Crude protein of kale leaves ranges from 18 to 25 percent (similar to rape.)
- Though Kale is adapted across the United States and Canada it is not well-adapted to hot weather. Grows best when summers are cooler (such as in the north) or when grown into the fall or winter.
- Slower growing than rapeseed and requires longer growing seasons (five to six months) to reach its full yield but just like rape, Kale can provide excellent winter browse.
Plant in most of the U.S. in June or July. Plant at 4 to 5 lbs. / acre and see leaf maturity at maximum yield to occur in 110 – 150 days in November, December or January. Plant ¼” deep in well-drained loams high in organic matter. Clay or sandy soils will do okay. Kale likes a pH between 5.5 and 6.5. If pH is too high, manganese is unavailable, which will result in a marbled or mottled appearance of leaves.
Fertilize Kale with 60 – 100 lbs. / acre nitrogen, 80 – 120 lbs. / acre of phosphorus and 60 – 120 lbs. / acre of potassium. In other words, 300 lbs. / acre of 19-19-19 at planting should do it for minimum application, 400 lbs. for better growth production. Other elements needed include 1 to 4 lbs. / acre boron, 60 to 120 lbs. / acre of magnesium, and trace amounts of copper and zinc. A soil test will tell you these details.
For the deer, just like rape, kale is best suited when mixed with other brassicas and even chicory or clovers as long as the brassica rate is held low enough (less than 2 lbs. / acre) to prevent shading of the clover and chicory companion plants.
Considerations: Just like rape, do not plant kale or other brassicas on the same ground for more than two successive years to prevent serious fungal disease problems.
Premier Forage Kale
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A 13-13-13 fertilizer type, or similar 200 - 300 lbs / acre and 1 - 2 times per year.