It is difficult to put up good quality hay – hay that is dry and will not heat or mold – from summer annual grasses like sorghum-sudan hybrids, pearl millet, and forage sorghums. Obviously, this type of hay, which is also called cane hay, is challenging to bale or stack for most growers, mostly due to its stems.
For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been bombarded with questions about why oats are short and heading out early. I’m still looking for the answer.
Oats are becoming more and more popular as an inexpensive, reliable forage. The crop tends to thrive during cool, wet springs, such as we had this year from mid-April through May, which further begs the question as to why they’re so short.
Managing the "windrow disease" that often follows rained-on hay presents lingering challenges. Weeds and sometimes insects often invade, requiring spraying to maintain quality and protect stands. During the next growth period, plants that were not smothered regrow rapidly, while plants underneath the windrow suffer delays. Harvest adjustments can help get the crop back on track for the rest of the season.
Wet soils in alfalfa fields right after cutting can lead to quick growth of weedy grasses like foxtail and crabgrass, particularly in a thin alfalfa stand. Ensuring a thick stand with good fertility and select herbicides can help you keep grasses under control.
Wheat stubble can be an excellent seedbed to plant forages into using no-till. It may take some planning, though, to be successful.
The first and most important step of double-cropping forages after wheat harvest is establishing a good stand? So what’s the trick to getting good stands? Well maybe, it’s planting no-till immediately after combining the wheat.
Two weeks of intermittent rains have delayed alfalfa harvest for many producers. As of Sunday, May 29, first cutting had been taken on 31% of the state's alfalfa crop, ahead of last year's 19% and the five-year average of 27%. If you weren't one of the lucky growers who got theirs cut and put up before more more rains came, you may want to consider adjusting your cutting height.
Potato leafhoppers have been reported in alfalfa in southeastern and northeastern Nebraska. This is somewhat earlier than usual and growers should be alert to potential damage and protecting their alfalfa where numbers indicate treatment thresholds would be met.