Planting Forages after Wheat Harvest

Planting Forages after Wheat Harvest

Wheat harvest has started in south central Nebraska and will soon be underway across the rest of the state. Once your wheat is gone, how do you plan to use that ground after harvest?  With good moisture and lots of growing season left, there are many forage possibilities.

An early maturing corn planted thick is one possibility if moisture is available. A better dryland choice might be a high grain-producing forage sorghum if chinch bugs and other insects are not a problem. Sunflowers can be a surprisingly good choice for a short-season silage. They survive light frost and yield well under many conditions.

If hay is preferred, plant sorghum-sudan hybrids, teff, or pearl or foxtail millet when chinch bugs aren't a problem. A hay crop exceeding two tons per acre can be grown easily 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 are another option.  Yields of over two tons are common when moisture is good, fertility is high, and the first hard freeze is late.

Definitely consider turnips, as well as oats, when planting into wheat stubble in late July or early August.  With a few timely rains in August and September, both oats and turnips will produce much high quality feed in a short time.  And, they are relatively inexpensive to plant.