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Wheat growers may benefit from planting forage crops


With winter wheat harvest still in progress and rains continuing, producers may benefit from a forage crop to follow the wheat, said a University of Nebraska-Lincoln specialist.

Dryland producers should keep in mind that, if rains fall short during the rest of the season, a forage crop might remove some subsoil moisture needed for next year's crop, said Jerry Volesky, Range and Forage Specialist at UNL's West Central Research and Extension Center.

Research trials have found that warm-season summer annuals such as sorghum-sudangrass hybrids, foxtail millet or pearl millet produce considerable forage by late September, Volesky said. Sorghum-sudangrass hybrids produced the greatest yields at about four tons per acre, even when planted near the end of July.

These forages after wheat can be either baled or grazed, Volesky said, but oats or turnips might be even better for grazing. Oats and turnips, planted in late July, alone or in combination, would be ready for good grazing by October and into November.

Cover crop mixtures, including such crops as radishes, forage rapeseed, cow peas, lentils, sunflowers, millets, as well as other possible forages, are also gaining in popularity, Volesky said.

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