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Turnip (Brassica rapa L. ssp. rapifera), or fodder turnip, is a fodder crop, belongs to the group of fodder root crops.

Turnip (Brassica rapa L. ssp. rapifera)
Turnip (Brassica rapa L. ssp. rapifera)
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Economic importance

Turnip is a high-yielding, early ripening, cold-resistant crop, less demanding on soil fertility than other root crops. Has a milky effect. It can be grown as a cut or stubble crop after early-harvested crops. It is promising when used in a green conveyor, while sowing is carried out in several terms.

The tops are also used for fodder in fresh, dried or ensiled form, which contains a sufficient amount of protein, minerals, ascorbic acid and carotene.

Cultural history

Turnip was used as a vegetable crop in ancient Greece and Rome. It comes from wild turnip, which is common in Eurasia.

In Russia, this culture began to be cultivated in the 19th century. It was especially widely grown in the pre-war period. Small, flattened root crops were used for food purposes, large – for fodder.

Cultivation areas

Due to its unpretentiousness, it can be cultivated in regions where other root crops do not grow well, including beyond the Arctic Circle.

Currently, in Russia it is grown in small areas and in personal subsidiary plots.

It is promising to grow turnip in the southern taiga-forest and forest-steppe zones with sufficient moisture as a cut and stubble crop.


Under favorable conditions (cool and humid summer) turnip yield reaches 40-50 t/ha.

Under irrigation conditions, the yield increases by 1.5-2 times.

Botanical description

Turnip (Brassica rapa L. ssp. rapifera Metzg.) is a biennial plant of the Brassicaceae family .

In the first year it forms a raised or semi-raised rosette of large leaves.

During germination, the seeds bring cotyledons to the surface, while it is difficult to distinguish from rutabaga.

The root crop is formed as a result of the development of the hypocotyl knee, to a lesser extent – the root itself. The shape depends on the varietal characteristics, it can be flattened, oval, oval-rounded, elongated-elliptical, elongated-fusiform, irregularly cylindrical. The pulp is loose. The color of the upper part is green, gray-green, brown, red-violet or purple, the lower part is white, grayish or yellow. The color of the pulp is white, yellowish, pink-yellowish.

The root system penetrates to a depth of 1-1.5 m, 40-50 cm wide. The assimilation ability is low.

Real leaves are simple, lyre-shaped, dissected, pubescent to varying degrees, shiny, up to 50 cm long, without wax coating.

In the second year of life, flower-bearing stems up to 80-150 cm high appear from the buds on the head of the root crop. The leaves on them are sessile, lanceolate, light green in color.

Inflorescence – shield (simple brush). Yellow, lemon yellow or cream flowers, four-petalled corolla, 6 stamens and pistil. Cross pollination. Can be pollinated with cabbage and radish.

The fruit is a long multi-celled pod with a large spout. Seeds are spherical, small, brown, dark brown or black. Weight of 1000 seeds 1.5-3.5 g.

Biological features

Temperature requirements

The cold hardiness of turnip exceeds rutabaga. Seeds germinate at a temperature of 2-3 °C. At a soil temperature of 8-10 °C at a seeding depth, seedlings appear in 4-5 days. Seedlings can withstand frosts down to -3…-5 °C, adult plants – up to -6…-9 °C.

A long cold spring contributes to the manifestation of flowering in plants.

It does not tolerate heat and lack of moisture. As well as swede, in hot conditions it is more damaged by pests, especially the earthen flea.

Moisture requirements

Turnip is a moisture-loving crop. The greatest need is noted during germination in the first year of life and during the rooting of uterine roots.

Does not tolerate drought. The lack of moisture leads to the formation of very small root crops.

Light requirements

Turnip is a long daylight culture that prefers intense lighting.

However, when used as a subsowing crop for winter rye for silage or green fodder, it yields 15-16 t/ha, when oversown for winter rye for grain – 12 t/ha (Belarusian Research Institute of Agriculture).

Soil requirements

Turnip is less demanding on soils than rutabaga. It grows well on light-textured soils, heavy soils are not suitable for cultivation. Soil acidity – pH 6-6.5, acceptable up to pH 4.3.

Fertile floodplain, cultivated sod-podzolic, drained peatlands and swamps (after the introduction of boron and copper microfertilizers), moderately moist loamy and sandy loamy soils rich in organic matter are optimally suited.


The vegetation period in the first year of life is 70-110 days, in the second – 65-90 days.

Crop rotation

It is better to plant turnip crops in low relief areas, where moistening conditions are better.

The best predecessors in the turnip crop rotation are fertilized winter, annual cereal-bean mixtures for hay and green fodder, leguminous, corn, potatoes, fodder beets, perennial legumes of the 1st year of use, silage crops. In vegetable crop rotations, it is not placed after crops of the Cabbage family. Fields infected with wireworm are not suitable for the cultivation of turnip. It is not economically feasible to place its crops far from livestock farms.

Can serve as a good predecessor for cereals, legumes and silage crops.


The removal of nutrients from 1 one ton of root crops and the corresponding amount of tops for turnips is 2.5 kg N, 1 kg P2O5, 3.8 kg K2O.

If organic fertilizers were not applied under the previous crop, they are applied under autumn cultivation at the rate of 30-40 t/ha.

To obtain a root crop of 40-50 t/ha, P40K60 is also applied under the main plowing .

In the spring, N60-90P20K30 is also applied for cultivation.

It is recommended to use row application of phosphate fertilizers when sowing turnips in rows of 20-25 kg/ha of granulated superphosphate.

Part of the nitrogen fertilizers can be transferred to top dressing at 30 kg/ha, which is carried out after thinning seedlings.


In general, tillage for turnips is similar to that for rutabaga.

Turnip is responsive to early autumn processing, which, depending on the thickness of the arable layer, is carried out to a depth of 20-30 cm using plows with skimmers.

In areas of insufficient moisture in winter, it is recommended to carry out snow retention techniques.

In the spring, harrowing and polishing are carried out to close the moisture and level the soil surface for uniform sowing of seeds. Cultivation is recommended before sowing. Heavy and floating soils are plowed with plows with removed mouldboards and simultaneously harrowed or milled. Lungs according to the granulometric composition of the soil are rolled before sowing.


Seed preparation

To treat turnip seeds before sowing against ascochitosis, blackleg, peronosporosis, phomosis, bacteriosis, olive blotch, seed mold and black mold, TMTD is used. Processing is carried out 2-15 days before sowing or in advance.

Sowing dates

When summer feeding turnip, it is sown in early spring. For the purposes of autumn and winter use, as well as for mowing or stubble crops, the sowing dates are shifted to the summer period.

Seeding methods

Turnips are grown only by sowing seeds, as they do not tolerate transplanting.

For uniform sowing, it is recommended to mix seeds with granulated superphosphate and granulated phosphamide to combat cruciferous flea with a fraction of 2-4 mm as ballast. The ratio of ballast substances: 2.5 kg of phosphamide and 20-25 kg of superphosphate per hectare seeding rate. Calcined millet seeds or dried sifted sawdust are also suitable as ballast.

When sowing at a given plant density, it is recommended to replace up to 20 seeds per 1 meter of row (LSHI).

Sowing of turnips is usually done in a wide-row way, with a row spacing of 45, 60 or 70 cm, or a two-line method with a row spacing of 50 cm and a tape width of 18-20 cm. ).

In regions of excessive moisture or with a shallow arable layer, for example, in the north-west of Russia, sowing is carried out on ridges or ridges.

For sowing seeds, vegetable seeders are used, for example, СОН-2,8, СКОСШ-2,8, СОН-2,8А, СО-4,2, СКОН-4,2.

Seeding rates

The sowing rate of turnip seeds is 1-2.5 kg/ha (according to other sources, 3-4 kg/ha), adjusted depending on the soil and climatic conditions and the weediness of the fields.

When using the dotted method of sowing with calibrated and coated seeds, the sowing rate can be reduced to 0.8 kg/ha (LSHI).

The seeding rate is increased in the case of turnip sowing or stubble sowing, since the period of nutrient consumption by plants is reduced.

Seeding depth

Sowing depth 1-3 cm.

Crop care

After sowing, rolling is carried out. When the topsoil dries up, harrowing is carried out with light toothed or mesh harrows, then – processing with rotary hoes or ribbed rollers when a soil crust is formed.

When caring for crops, they are shoveled to a depth of 4-6 cm. During the growing season, 2-3 inter-row loosening is done to a depth of 8-12 cm.

Density of turnip standing is 70-100 thousand/ha of plants. To form the density of standing, depending on the uniformity of seedlings, apply:

  • with a plant density of more than 30 per 1 m – transverse harrowing in the phase of 3-4 leaves using a net or light tooth harrow;
  • with a density of 20-30 plants per 1 m – bunching according to the scheme: cutout 40 cm, bouquet 20 cm, followed by manual disassembly of bouquets.

Harrowing on seedlings and bunches of turnips is carried out with caution, in dry weather it is limited only to bunching. On uniform non-thickened seedlings, fields clear of weeds, you can use longitudinal thinners.

To control weeds in turnip crops, pre-sowing treatment with ramrod herbicides at a dose of 4-6 kg/ha a.i. is carried out. or pre-emergence butizan (against annual grasses and dicotyledonous weeds).

To combat fleas and horseradish leaf beetle, spraying is carried out during the growing season with Actellik.


Usually cleaning is carried out in a separate way. For cutting leaves, haulm harvesters УБД-3А, КИР-1,5Б are used. Then the roots are dug up by potato diggers, converted potato harvesters or a ККГ-1.4 machine.

Turnips can be harvested together with the tops and ensiled after preliminary crushing and mixing with sex crops .


It is stored poorly because of the friable pulp and wateriness of the root crop, therefore cattle are fed at the beginning of the stall period.

Turnip root crops are stored in ground heaps, trenches or storages. Storage temperature 1-2 °С at relative humidity 85-95%.

Growing turnip for seeds

When growing uterine crops of turnip, they are thickened in such a way that 80-90 thousand uterine root crops are obtained from 1 hectare of crops, which corresponds to 3-4 hectares of testes. The uterine roots should be protected from wilting during harvesting, storage and during the planting period.

Planting pattern – 70 × 35 cm. Elongated turnip roots are planted using ВПГ-4 or ВПГ-4Б, rounded varieties – under a plow or cultivator. The planting depth should ensure that the head of the root crop is covered with soil by 2-3 cm.

Turnip seed plants are spread across the fields from plantings of rutabagas and other plants of the Cabbage family to a distance of at least 2 km in order to prevent cross-pollination.

Seed harvesting is carried out manually or with headers (depending on the size of the plot) in a two-phase method. Harvesting begins when the seeds in 25-30% of the pods turn light brown, while the pods themselves turn yellow-green or light yellow. Seed plants during maturation protect from birds.

Turnips for seeds begin to be harvested at the end of June – July. Threshing is carried out using combines or threshers. With good agricultural technology, the seed yield is 1-1.5 t/ha.

After harvesting the turnip seed plants, it is possible to sow stubble fodder crops or winter grains of group I.

In the southern regions, for example, in Georgia or Armenia, a non-planting method of growing turnip for seeds is possible. The uterine crops are left before winter in the field, in the spring they carry out the necessary care measures, and in the summer they harvest the seeds. This approach significantly reduces the cost of seeds.


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.