Forage after wheat can be a bonus, says UNL specialist

Jul 24, 2009
by WLJ
Forage after wheat can be a bonus, says UNL specialist

With winter wheat harvest still in progress and rains continuing, producers may benefit from a forage crop to follow the wheat, said a University of Nebraska– Lincoln (UNL) specialist.

Dryland producers should keep in mind that if rains fall short during the rest of the season, a forage crop might remove some subsoil moisture needed for next year’s crop, said Jerry Volesky, range and forage specialist at UNL’s West Central Research and Extension Center.

Research trials have found that warm-season summer annuals such as sorghumsudangrass hybrids, foxtail millet or pearl millet produce considerable forage by late September, Volesky said. Sorghum-sudangrass hybrids produced the greatest yields at about four tons per acre, even when planted near the end of July. These forages after wheat can be either hayed or grazed, Volesky said, but oats or turnips might be even better for grazing. Oats and turnips, planted in late July, alone or in combination, would be ready for good grazing by October and into November.

Cover crop mixtures, including such crops as radishes, forage rapeseed, cow peas, lentils, sunflowers, millets as well as other possible forages, are also gaining in popularity, Volesky said. — WLJ