Forage Options after Wheat Harvest

Wheat harvest will be here and gone before we know it. With a little rain or irrigation, there are several forage possibilities for wheat ground after harvest.
Planting forage into wheat stubble for hay, silage, or grazing is an especially valuable option as growers try to rebuild feed reserves that were exhausted last spring due to drought or slow early season growth.
An early maturing corn variety is one possibility if it is planted thick, although yield still might not be very high. An inexpensive option might be to drill a high population of bin-run corn, if there is good germination, with a drill that can handle the large kernels. Also, forage sorghum should work well when high grain producing hybrids are planted. A good choice for short-season silage might be sunflowers. Sunflowers survive light frost and yield well under many conditions.
If a hay crop is desired rather than silage, plant sorghum-sudan hybrids, pearl millet or foxtail millet. A hay crop exceeding 1.5 tons per acre can still be grown if planted soon after harvest and rain is timely. Another hay or silage alternative is solid-seeded soybeans. A couple tons of good forage can be grown from taller, full season varieties planted after wheat.
Oats planted in early August is another option. Yields over 2 tons per acre are possible if moisture is good, fertility high and a hard freeze comes later than usual.
Also consider oats, as well as turnips, for fall pasture when planted in late July or early August. Often they are less expensive to plant and, with a few timely rains, will produce a good amount of high quality feed in a short time.

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