Seeding Late Summer Annuals

If you are finding your feed supplies may be short later this summer or next winter then an option is a late planting BMR sorghum or Sorghum-Sudangrass. Both forages can be cut for silage or the sorghum-sudangrass can be grazed. The cost is a fraction of corn, and drilled, it will get out of the ground quickly to capture sunlight for maximum yield. In NY a planting July 8, 2016, harvested Oct 7 at maturity (one cut system), produced an average of 18 tons/A on a 35% DM basis for both forages.

Harvest management is critical for fermentation to reduce potential for clostridia and butyric formation. Choosing a variety with the dry stalk gene, will help since there is less moisture in the stem. With enough growth you can direct chop (if not, then mow, windrow and chop). For round bale silage (baleage) we suggest BMR Sudangrass with its higher quality and smaller stems for wrapped bales. Additionally you can use a processing knife on the baler to reduce stalk size to a manageable level. Use a homolactic inoculant for wet forages.

Another warm season crop that is getting more  attention is BMR pearl millet. It has higher leaf to stem ratio than Sorghum-Sudan which gives it very high feed quality. Pearl millet does not have prussic acid management issues. Pearl millet has thinner stems that may be easier to round bale for wrapping. Pearl millet is wet though so direct chopping is doubtful. ~ Excerpted from Tom Kilcer’s July 2017 Newsletter, For information on warm season annual grass yields go to the UK Forage Website under Variety Trials.