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Late Planted Forage Crop Options

by Dan Martens, Stearns-Benton-Morrison Counties

Some farmers have been still trying to plant corn for silage or other forage crops to meet feed needs for dairy and beef cattle. Recent rain has made a mess of these efforts again recently. One of the more recent field trials done to look at late planted forage crop options was done in Pelican Rapids and Rosemount in 2002 and 2003. I am posting a report of that study here.

Late planted forage trial 02 03.pdf

University of Wisconsin Extension has also dealt with this issue over the years. You might find some additional useful information at

This report suggests corn and forage sorghum were among the best choices for forage yield even when planted in early July.

Pearl Millet, Japanese millet and sudangrass are crops that are finer stemmed than forage sorghum and are often planted in grain drill rows. They can be put up as dry hay IF the weather cooperates, as baleage, or as chopped silage. They can be cut with a 6 inch stubble to get another cutting. Sorghum and sudangrass crops can have some issues with harvest after frost in some situation that growers should be aware of.

Foxtail Millet grows up to be like smooth bromegrass or reed canary grass but is an annual grass plant.

Soybeans can be chopped for a forage crop similar to alfalfa at 140-150 RFV. It would be chopped in about an R6 stage - when leaves are all green, and green beans pretty well pack the pods.

Always have a thorough discussion with your crop insurance rep about how alternative crops will affect claim and premium payments this year - and APH and acreage bases next year. You might talk with your FSA office about this also.

And work closely with your nutrition advisor.

You're welcome to call your county Extension Office for more information if you have County Ag Staff ... or the farm information line at 1-800-232-9077.

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