Alaska can be a land of challenges when it comes to many aspects of life and feeding animals can be just as hard as feeding ourselves. So, when looking to grow livestock the cost of forage and feed often is a large deterrent for farmers. One option though that has been tested by some growers in Alaska has been cold weather turnips, which can provide 60 to 120 days of grazing with regrowth possible, using 85% to 95% of the plant. These are a late spring to mid-summer planting option as the soil temperatures do need to reach at least 50°F and will be ready for grazing anywhere between 70 to 90 days after seeding. What really makes this stand out as a forage option for Alaska is the grazing ability turnips have along with the survivable temperatures. Leaves can be grazed from mid-September until April
depending upon critical low temperatures and snow cover. Top growth generally will survive
temperatures between 15-20°F, while bulbs will be about 5°F colder. The largest caveat of using this crop though for forage is to not having as a single source for foraging as it can be detrimental for livestock to purely eat turnips, but can be used as supplemental feed source with hay, oats, or other types of feed. Many varieties of forage turnips are available through most seed companies, so make sure to read though an extra information they give on the varieties for what will work best for your land space, livestock, and soil health. If interested in some companies who provide these forage turnips, here are a few links or contact your trusted seed provider.


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