Successfully Seeding Forages into Wheat Stubble

Successfully Seeding Forages into Wheat Stubble June 22, 2017

Wheat stubble can be an excellent seedbed to plant forages into using no-till. It may take some advance planning, though, to be successful.

What is the most important step in double-cropping forages after wheat harvest? Getting a good stand. Without a good stand, nothing else makes much difference.

Planting no-till immediately after combining the wheat is one of the best ways to ensure a good stand. Spotty stands often result from top soil drying out rapidly after wheat has been combined. This may not be a serious situation under irrigation, but it can ruin dryland stand establishment. Fortunately, there usually is moisture near the soil surface during combining. Plant without delay before this moisture evaporates for better stand success.

No-till planting turnips, summer annual grasses, or other cover crops into wheat stubble has many advantages. Most importantly, soil moisture is conserved. In addition, erosion is reduced, weed seeds remain buried, and tillage expenses are eliminated.

Of course, there are other challenges to getting a good stand. Planting equipment must be adjusted and operated properly when planting into heavy straw residue. Another challenge is weeds, either annual weeds that develop after wheat is combined or volunteer wheat that sprouts later in the summer. Be ready with postemergence herbicides like Select Max or Poast Plus when appropriate for later emerging weeds or volunteer wheat.