Maincrop Turnip

Why Grow Turnip?

Excellent quality autumn/winter feed
Quicker to mature than swede
Ideal for mixing with kale

Soil Type and Site Selection

Turnip crops can be grown on a wide range of soils including sandy loams, silts, peat or clay loams. The desirable soil properties needed are, ease of working, good aeration, good structure and sound drainage. Avoid soils with pans and ensure a pH of around 6.5.

Seed Bed

Drilling requires a firm, level seedbed. The seed is small, so even if broadcast, the seedbed should be fine.

Minimum cultivations should be undertaken prior to later sowings in order to preserve soil moisture.


Sow May – July
Precision drill 0.150-0.350kg per acre
Precision seed for Turnip has the code letter “G” and is 1.50-1.75mm
Direct drill 1 – 1.5kg per acre
Broadcast Maximum 2kg per acre


For average soil types a typical application would be 250kg/ha 15:15:20 which should be applied into the seedbed.

Weeds, Pests and Diseases

Weed control is best undertaken during seedbed preparation.

There are a number of pests which attack turnips from sowing through to maturity. Flea beetle are the main risk during establishment. continue monitoring the crop until the risk has subsided.

As with all other brassicas, club root  is the main disease problem, best avoided by keeping to a good crop rotation leaving at least three clear years between crops. Attacks of mildew on the leaves will reduce yield and may affect the crops palatability when grazed.


Most fodder turnips are grazed in situ. Stock should have access to a grass runback or hay/silage during feeding. It is advisable to use an electric fence to control intake and reduce waste.

White fleshed , autumn varieties can be ready for grazing after 12-15 weeks, the yellow fleshed winter types 16-20 weeks.

Yellow fleshed maincrop turnips can be lifted and stored in a clamp, always make sure the roots carry as little soil as possible and reject any damaged roots as they may introduce fungal diseases.

Typical Yields / Feed Quality
Average dry matter yield 5.5 – 6 tonnes/ha
Average fresh yield 60 – 65 tonnes/ha
Dry matter 8 – 10%
Crude protein 15 – 17%
Metabolisable energy 10 – 11 MJ/kg DM

Data source: Advanta product guide 2004