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Fodder carrot

Fodder carrot is a fodder crop, belongs to the group of fodder root crops.

Economic importance

Carrot roots are used for food and fodder purposes, as a raw material in the production of fortified juices.

Due to the high content of carotene, it is a valuable product for humans and all animals. Carrots help to improve the carbohydrate-protein balance in diets. 100 kg of root crops corresponds to 12 feed units and contains 0.8 kg of digestible protein, 31 g of calcium, 40 g of phosphorus, from 8.0 to 14.7 g of carotene. 1 feed unit contains 67 g of digestible protein.

For fodder purposes, carrot leaves are used in fresh, dried and ensiled form. 100 kg of carrot tops corresponds to 13 feed units and contains 1.4 kg of digestible protein, 460 g of calcium, 65 g of phosphorus, from 3.2 to 6.9 g of carotene.

Cultural history

Cultivated carrots come from a wild form that is found in different regions, mainly on calcareous soils of Western and Southwestern Asia. Starting from the 1st millennium, it served as a source of easily digestible carbohydrates, mineral salts and carotene for humans.

Cultivation areas

Currently, fodder carrots are grown in almost all countries of the world.

In Russia it is cultivated everywhere.


The yield of carrots reaches 30-50 t/ha.

As a subsown crop, carrots showed a yield of 17.8 t/ha after harvesting rye for grain, after harvesting rye for green fodder – 59.5 t/ha (Belarusian Research Institute of Agriculture).

Botanical description

Forage carrot (Daucus carota L.) is a biennial plant of the Celery family (Apiacea). In the first year of life, it forms an elongated cone-shaped root crop and a rosette of leaves.

Lateral roots are arranged in four rows. Types of root crops: cone-shaped, short-oval, spindle-shaped, elongated-conical with a blunt or sharp end. Color varies from white to red-orange.

Seeds are brought to the soil surface by narrow linear cotyledons.

True basal leaves are 3-5 times pinnately dissected, have a large number of narrow lobules and a long petiole.

Stem leaves are pinnatisected in the second year of life. In the second year of life, several branched stems up to 1-1.5 meters in height, covered with hairs, appear from the root crop.

The inflorescence is a complex umbrella with a large number of small white flowers of the five type. The flowers are bisexual, small, pinkish or white. Cross-pollination occurs with the help of insects.

The fruit is a dry two-seeded, when ripe it splits into two lobes. The surface of the seeds is equipped with thin spines (hooks) that prevent flowability during sowing. The seeds have ribs with passages filled with essential oil.

Before sowing, seeds are freed from thorns by rubbing. The weight of 1000 seeds without spines is from 1.1 to 1.3 g, with spines – up to 2.5 g.

Biological features

Temperature requirements

Carrots are cold-resistant plants. Seed germination begins at a temperature of 2-4 °C, but slowly.

The optimum temperature for the formation of leaves is +10 °C, the root crop is 18-20 °C.

Shoots are able to withstand frosts down to -4…-6 °C (according to other sources -3…-4 °C), adult plants in the first year of life – up to -4…-5 °C, seed plants when planting – up to -2…-4 °С.

Carrots tolerate elevated temperatures well due to the developed root system, and the root crop is almost completely immersed in the soil.

Moisture requirements

Carrots are the most drought-resistant of all root crops, but respond well to sufficient moisture and watering. The critical period of moisture consumption is from sowing to germination, as well as during the thickening of the root crop. The lack or uneven flow of water during the growth period leads to a change in the shape of the root crop, cracking of its bark.

Seed plants need plenty of moisture when planting for good rooting.

Light requirements

Carrots are a long daylight crop, demanding on light.

Soil requirements

Carrots succeed on soils of various textures. Loose loamy chernozems and sandy loams are optimal for it.

Carrot planting soils are especially well suited to light-textured soils.

High yields of fodder carrots are possible on drained lowland cultivated peatlands and floodplain lands.

Carrots do not tolerate an acidic soil solution with a pH below 5.


In the first year of life, the vegetation period is 110-120 days, in the second – 110-130 days.

Technical maturity in the first year occurs 80-90 days after germination.

For the transition of carrots to the state of flowering, a long period of exposure to low temperatures from 100 to 140 days is necessary. For this reason, even with very early sowing and when sowing before winter, the flowering of carrots is practically not observed.

Crop rotation

It is cultivated mainly in fodder near-farm crop rotations.

In field crop rotations, fertilized winter crops, legumes and potatoes are considered the best predecessors of fodder carrots. In fodder and vegetable crop rotations, carrots are placed after row crops, cereals, leguminous, silage or vegetable crops, annual grasses.

It is possible to grow fodder carrots as a subsowing crop in crops of early harvested cereals in regions with a long frost-free period and sufficient moisture supply.


Nutrient intake is stretched. In the initial phases of development, carrots primarily have nitrogen in their nutrition. Potassium, phosphorus and calcium are consumed throughout the growing season.

In terms of nutrient removal, carrots are similar to sugar beets: one ton of root crops and the corresponding number of leaves removes 3.5 kg/ha of N from the soil; 1.5 kg/ha P2O5; 7 K2O kg/ha and 1.6 kg/ha CaO.

Recommended application rates of mineral fertilizers:

  • on soddy-podzolic soils – N45-60P30-45K60-90 and 40 t/ha of rotted manure;
  • on chernozems – N30-45P30-45K30-45 and 20 t/ha of rotted manure.

Manure is applied for autumn cultivation or plowing, if sowing is carried out on an unfertilized predecessor. Organic fertilizers (manure and composts) are effective primarily on soils of light granulometric composition and poorly cultivated sod-podzolic soils.

On drained peatlands, phosphorus-potassium fertilizers and microfertilizers containing manganese, boron and copper are primarily applied.


Like all root crops, fodder carrots respond well to deep early autumn plowing, which is carried out after stubble peeling.

Pre-sowing tillage consists in early spring harrowing, cultivation and leveling of the soil surface.

On peatlands with a regulated water regime, it is possible to sow in autumn on frozen-thawed soil.

Sometimes soil is rolled before sowing.


Seed preparation

Seeds of fodder carrots are ground before sowing to remove hooks (thorns) for better flowability.

Before sowing, it is recommended to soak the seeds in order to accelerate the emergence of seedlings. To do this, they are soaked for 1.5-2 days with a periodic change of water.

Seed sorting can be carried out using a 5% sodium chloride solution (NaCl). Then the seeds are washed with running water and dried. Sometimes they resort to pelleting carrot seeds to facilitate sowing and achieve uniform distribution of seeds in a row. The mixture for drageeing can be prepared from peat, lime, mineral fertilizer fertilizers, molasses is used as an adhesive.

When preparing seeds, they are also calibrated and treated with Fentiuram or TMTD, as well as sanding.

Sanding – mixing carrot seeds with coarse sand, which acts as a ballast, in a ratio of 1 : 4. The mixture is kept in a warm room, then in a glacier. Sanding helps to accelerate the emergence of seedlings (L.A. Sinyakova).

Sowing dates

Carrots are considered the crop of the earliest sowing period.

Possibility of winter sowing. In this case, the harvest may be higher, and the harvesting start time may be earlier.

Seeding methods

Sowing is carried out with vegetable seeders. Seeding methods:

  • wide-row single-line with row spacing 45 cm;
  • wide-row two-line, the distance between the lines is 15 and 20 cm, between the ribbons – 45 and 50 cm;
  • broadband, stripe width 8-20 cm, distance between stripes 40-60 cm;
  • for coated seeds also dotted method.

With the broadband method of sowing, special coulters are used.

In areas of excessive moisture and a small arable layer, fodder carrots can be cultivated on ridges or ridges; in this case, special seeders-bed-makers ГС-1.4 are used for sowing.

Seeding rates

The sowing rate of fodder carrot seeds is 2-5 kg/ha and is adjusted depending on the sowing method:

  • with a wide-row single-line method, 2-3 kg/ha of seeds are sown;
  • wide-row two-line – 3-4 kg/ha;
  • broadband method – 5-7 kg/ha;
  • dotted method – 1.5-2 kg/ha.

Seeding rates can be reduced to 2 kg/ha when using density graded or calibrated seeds.

In conditions of high agricultural technology, the use of herbicides, the seeding rate can be reduced to 1 kg/ha, while the need for thinning disappears (Leningrad Agricultural Institute).

The seeding rate is increased by 25-30% in case of winter sowing. For uniform sowing, it is advisable to add ballast to the seeds, for example, sand, dry sawdust, granulated superphosphate.

Seeding depth

 The depth of sowing seeds is 1-2 cm.

Crop care

Caring for fodder carrot crops consists in:

  • post-sowing rolling with ribbed rollers in arid growing regions, as well as on light soils, especially peat ones;
  • harrowing 4-5 days after sowing to control weeds;
  • destruction of the soil crust using rotary hoes, mesh or light tooth harrows;
    loosening row spacing;
  • weed control by mechanical (agrotechnical) or chemical methods;
  • thinning;
  • top dressing;
  • irrigation.

With a single pre-emergence harrowing, sharovka is carried out – the first along-row loosening to a depth of 3-5 cm with flat-cutting razors.

At the beginning of its development, carrots grow slowly, so their crops are susceptible to weeds. From herbicides use:

  • pre-emergence treatment with propazine in the amount of 1-2 kg/ha of a.i.;
  • pre-emergence or post-emergence treatment with prometrin (against annual cereals and dicots) in the amount of 1-1.5 kg/ha a.i.;
  • pre-emergence treatment or linuron – 1-2 kg/ha a.i.;
  • preparations: against annual cereals and dicotyledons – Stomp (pre-emergence soil spraying), Gezagard (pre-sowing, pre-emergence spraying and processing in the phase of 1-2 true leaves), Treflan (pre-sowing soil spraying), Racer (pre-emergence soil spraying).

Thinning seedlings of fodder carrots are performed in the phase of 4-5 leaves at a distance of 4-5 cm. To facilitate this operation, bouquets are carried out with a row cultivator according to the scheme: the cut is made 27-30 cm, the bouquet is 30 cm, after disassembly, 6-8 plants are left in the bouquet , or use a longitudinal thinner.

By the time of harvesting, the plant density should be 300-400 thousand/ha. This density is achieved without the use of manual labor, if small seeding rates are taken for sowing and seedlings are harrowed.

Top dressing of crops is advisable in case of insufficient application of the main fertilizer. It is usually performed after a breakthrough by cultivators-plant feeders. When top dressing, 20-30 kg/ha of fertilizers are applied, primarily nitrogen.

Carrots respond well to watering. It is optimal to irrigate depending on the moisture content of the soil after the breakthrough, when the root thickens, and also a month before harvesting.


Harvesting begins before the onset of autumn frosts.

For harvesting carrots, the Department of Mechanization of the North-Western Research Institute of Agriculture recommends using the КИР-1.5Б and УБД-3А hauling machines. Then root crops are dug up by СНУ-3С machines, ОКПШ-1.4 bracket or potato diggers. Harvesting of dug out root crops is carried out manually. For digging and loading into vehicles, converted potato harvesters can be used.

Currently, there is a set of machines that can reduce labor costs for harvesting carrots by 3.5-4 times, for example, dig up ММТ-1 or ЕМ-11 root crops, sort them into ПСК-6. In beet-growing areas, carrot harvesting, if it is sown with a row spacing of 45 cm, can be carried out with a complex of beet harvesters (БМ-6, РКС-6).


Fodder carrots are stored in trenches, piles or storages. When laying for storage, it is recommended to layer the root crops with wet sand or earth. This technique allows to reduce losses in storage by 2 times, in trenches – by 5 times (I.V. Yakushkin).

Storage temperature under controlled conditions – 1-2 °C, relative humidity – 90-95%.

Growing fodder carrots for seeds

For planting seed plants of fodder carrots, converted transplanters are used or manually into slots cut by a cultivator. On large areas, a ВПГ-4Б landing machine with additional cones is used.

Landing patterns: 60×30, 60×60 or 70×30 cm.

Seed care consists in removing late-appearing umbrellas, leaving 12-16 strong inflorescences on the plant. Seeds are harvested in two phases: first, the stalks are cut with headers of the ЖНУ-3.2, ЖНУ-3.5 type. After 12-14 days they are picked up by combines. A sign of ripeness of umbrellas is their browning and bending inside the inflorescence.


Crop production / P.P. Vavilov, V.V. Gritsenko, V.S. Kuznetsov and others; Ed. P.P. Vavilov. – 5th ed., revised. and additional – M.: Agropromizdat, 1986. – 512 p.: ill. – (Textbook and textbooks for higher educational institutions).

V.V. Kolomeichenko. Crop production / Textbook. — M.: Agrobusinesscenter, 2007. — 600 p. ISBN 978-5-902792-11-6.

Fundamentals of agricultural production technology. Agriculture and crop production. Ed. V.S. Niklyaev. – M .: “Epic”, 2000. – 555 p.