As farms look towards alternative crops on marginal land, the area of land planted to energy crops such as miscanthus is likely to increase. One of the positive spin-offs discovered by growers of this tall, bamboo like plant is the fact that it is popular with game, providing a very warm winter cover. It can either be sown as bare rhizomes or transplanted as small plants. We supply rhizomes in large bags of up to 10,000 Rhizomes.
One issue to bear in mind is that commercial crops of this crop can cover quite large areas, thus creating areas that can draw your birds away from where you could expect them to be in the past. This can be both helpful and unhelpful so consider the possible consequences during the planning stages, as once it is planted it will be there for a few years.
Planting Rate:10,000 Rhizomes / Ha
Reed Canary Grass
Many shoots have discovered the holding powers of a good crop of canary grass. It can warm up exposed areas and hold birds right through the season. Annual management of canary grass is essential, but with the correct management it should provide cover for 6-10 years. It has many of the qualities of far more expensive alternatives, such as Miscanthus, providing a tremendous cover when planted correctly in wide rows.
Reed canary grass (Phalaris arundinacea) is the native strain and is clearly distinctive from canary grass (Phalaris aquatica) in its growth habit, being more upright and reed like. We recommend the Reed type for cover crop purposes.
Bag size: 2.5kgs. Discuss seed rates for your site with us before ordering.
Our Perennial Chicory variety has now established itself as a superb addition to any perennial cover. It is also being used sparingly in brood rearing covers and on beetle banks. Chicory needs a period of vernalisation before it provides the wiry, warm canopy in its second year. In the year of sowing do not expect a cover crop, instead expect to see a plant that looks a bit like a dandelion. From the second year onwards however a crop of 5-6ft tall with blue flowers and strong wiry stems will hold birds through the winter. Perennial Chicory prefers free draining soils as it puts down a sizeable tap root. For that reason it is very good in drought prone areas but will not thrive in wet or waterlogged soils.
Bag size: 2kgs (1 acre).
An excellent alternative is our Oakbank Game mix 206, containing Perennial Chicory, Reed Canary Grass, Sweet Clover and Reed Millet.
A perennial favourite, providing good pheasant cover for many years. Artichokes do, however, require management to prevent the crop from getting too thick and lodging, thus preventing easy access for game birds.
Oakbank’s supplier provides nice even sized tubers, very suitable for mechanical planting. For more details please contact the office.
Bag size: 25kgs. Seed rate: 400-500kgs/acre