Kale has long been recognized as one of the best crops for game cover, but it is also highly regarded by environmentalists as a source of highly palatable seed for song birds in the crop’s second year. It provides a very attractive dense cover for pheasants and keepers appreciate the way in which Kale steadies the flushing of birds through a drive.
Kale is not without its challenges, particularly around establishment as it can fall foul of pests such as flea beetle and pigeons. However advances in chemical seed treatments have improved the situation and Oakbank have good strategies for successful kale crops, whether they be game crops or as part of a wild bird seed mixture. In our view, and we have proven this in many places, a bit of care leads to tremendous results. Be patient is the main advice. If you drill kale seed in to a warm, fine, moist seed bed it will grow! In many cases it will grow away from the flea beetle so, as long as you keep the winged vermin off and get the fertility right, you should get a good crop. Patience also means you have a great opportunity to spray off any weeds before drilling. Weeds are a problem in kale and rotating kale with cleaner crops such as maize is usually a successful solution.
Club Root is a well known disease of Kale, but it is often blamed for crop problems where the truth is somewhat different. Inadequate or incorrect fertility and weed control are far more likely to be the culprit. Kale is particularly sensitive to trace element deficiencies, particularly Boron and weed control is very important so that the plant can produce a good, strong stem.