Planting Forage after Wheat

Planting Forage after Wheat

June 12, 2009

With good moisture in much of the state this year, forages might be a good second crop after wheat. 

If you could use some extra feed, several crops can be planted for silage after wheat harvest. For example, an early maturing corn is one possibility if you plant it thick, although yield still might not be very high.

If chinch bugs and other insects are not a problem, a better choice for late plantings might be forage sorghum. Use high grain producing hybrids when available.

The best choice of all for short-season silage might be sunflowers. They survive light frost and yield well under many conditions.If you want hay instead of silage, plant teff, sorghum-sudan hybrids, or pearl or foxtail millet if chinch bugs aren't a problem.

You can get a hay crop exceeding two tons per acre if it's planted soon and rain is timely.

Solid-seeded soybeans are another silage alternative. 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 over two tons are possible if moisture is good, fertility is high, and your hard freeze comes a little late. The cheapest option might be to drill bin-run corn real thick if you have good germination and a drill that can handle the kernels.

Turnips, as well as oats, are good options for fall pasture planted into wheat stubble in late July or early August. With a few timely rains in August and September, both oats and turnips produce much high quality feed in a short time. And, they are cheap to plant.

In wet years take advantage of the extra moisture to grow an extra forage crop.

Bruce Anderson
Extension Forage Specialist