Are Soybeans an Option for Summer Annual Forage?
Soybeans are an option as an emergency hay or silage crop, and have the added benefits of being a legume (thus needing no nitrogen fertilizer). Additionally, they do not produce prussic acid (cyanide) or accumulate nitrates like other summer annual forages. Soybeans can be very challenging to cure as hay because of their thick stems – using a conditioning mower to crush these stems helps curing. When harvesting soybeans for forage it is important to harvest when plants are still in a vegetative or leafy growth stage to maximize forage digestibility and protein. Soybeans are also a great rotation crop to precede a fall seeding of an improved cool season grass like orchardgrass or novel endophyte tall fescue. Some producers have added a low rate of sudangrass (5-10 lbs/A) to soybean hay and silage crops, but higher rates often compete with the soybeans. ~ Dr. Jimmy Henning, excerpted from the May 17 issue of Farmer’s Pride. This is a free online publication available at https://thefarmerspride.com or call 270-384-9454 to request a paper copy.