Soil First Guide

Solving the Soil Health Puzzle? We Have you Covered.  Cover crops are an important piece to soil health and future profit. We know it takes work and is puzzling at times. Soil First® provides quality products plus tips, tools and solutions to help cover crops work for you. As challenges arise, we are ready with the pieces you need to succeed.


Rapeseed Brassica

Deep, fibrous root system, scavenging both nitrogen and soluble phosphorus

A Rapeseed brassica cover crop is an upright, cool season and/or winter annual broadleaf. This brassica is versatile enough to be planted in the spring for a summer cover, or may be utilized in the fall for a winter cover crop. Rapeseed brassica works great as a dual-purpose crop, adapting to a wide range of soil types and conditions. Rapeseed tends to be extremely drought-tolerant and stands frost better than many brassicas. Because of its winter hardiness, it’s common for growers to get multiple grazing cycles when feeding rapeseed brassica.




Non-Forage Benefits:
1 = Poor; 5 = Excellent

Compaction Alleviation: 5
Weed Suppression: 3
Biomass Production: 4
Erosion Control: 4
Disease/Pest Control: 4
Pollinator/Beneficials: 4
P & K Cycling: 4
Ease of Establishment: 5

Nitrogen Fixer/Scavenger: Scavenger

Nutritional Value:
Values Vary Greatly Depending on Maturity

Crude Protein: 14
NEL¹ Mcal/lb.: TBD
ADF%²: 28
NDF%³: 41
TDN: 57
DM Tons/Acre: 1.5-4
Days to First Harvest: 60-80
Days to Next Harvest: –

¹- Net Energy for Lactation = Energy available after subtracting digestive and metabolic losses
²- Acid Detergent Fiber = Low values mean more digestible
³- Neutral Detergent Fiber = Low values mean cows can eat more

Ranking (Good, Better, Best):
Graze: Good
Baleage: Better
Chop: Best




Planting Time:
Apr.-May; Aug.-Sept.

Seeding Rate:
Mono (lbs./acre): 4-6
Mix (lbs./acre): 2-4
Forage (lbs./acre): 6-8
Aerial (lbs./acre): 5-8

Seeding Info:
Carbon/Nitrogen Ratio (C:N): 20:1 – 22:1
Seeding Depth (in./with drill): 1/4-1/2
Seeds/lb.: 145,000
Bulk Density (lbs./ft.³): 45
Aerial Application Rate: 5-8
Germination Soil Temp.: 41 F
USDA Hardiness Zone: 5
Days to Emergence: 4-10





    • Rapeseed can be more difficult to control with glyphosate
    • Prefers soils with a pH 5.8-8.0
    • Rapeseed may attract some non-beneficial pests

Brassica Crops can cause animal health disorders if not grazed properly. Introduce grazing animals to brassica pastures slowly (usually over 3-5 days). With extremely high forage values, brassicas can cause problems if hungry animals are turned out into predominate brassica pastures. Even though traditional recommendations allow for 2/3, we actually recommend keeping brassicas to under 1/3 of the grazing animal’s diet- always supplement brassicas with dry hay or other grasses (higher in fiber).


Scale 1-9, where 9 = best or most pronounced

Compaction Alleviation
Weed Suppression
Biomass Production
Erosion Control
Disease/Pest Control
P & K Cycling
Ease of Establishment
  • Deep, fibrous root system, scavenging both nitrogen and soluble phosphorus
  • Strong biomass production makes it great for fall and winter grazing
  • Offers the most grazing cycles of brassica when planted in late summer/early fall