NORTH PLATTE, Neb. — While we are still early in the new year, it may be time to start planning and thinking about any spring or summer annual forages that we might plant. Part of the process may be anticipating some dry conditions this summer and a need for extra feed or booking seed early for possible discounts.
First, an important consideration would be to decide whether we plan to hay, graze, or silage this crop; and secondly, what is the time period that we want to be able to graze or hay. For spring or cool-season annual forages, the planting period is typically late March to early April. This would include things like oats, field peas, or other spring cereal grains. With that planting date, these would provide grazing in late May and through June
For the summer annual forages, the planting period is typically late May and on into the summer months. This would include things like forage sorghum, sudangrass, sorghum-sudan hybrids, pearl millet, and foxtail millet. Additionally, other species or legumes that are typical of some cover crop mixes could be part of the package as well. With a late-May or early-June planting of a summer annual, grazing should be available in July.
One should also consider the herbicides that may have been used on a field the previous year. Some herbicides have long residuals that could hinder establishment even into this spring.
Doing your homework and planning ahead can help make your forage season run smoothly.
— Jerry Volesky, Nebraska Extension
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