Warm Season Options - Alternative Forages
Not interested in the sorghum family for warm season options? Here are some other alternative forages for this summer:
BMR Hybrid Pearl Millet
Do you like the sounds of the sudangrass, but want to avoid the prussic acid concern in the fall or experience slightly cooler summers? This millet may be the answer! Millet can provide multiple baleage cuttings or grazing passes. Millet will also provide fast establishment and quick recovery after harvest or grazing. Dry matter tonnage will generally be 4-5 tons per acre. It is important to leave an 8 inch stubble height in order for millet to properly regrow.
So much talk of silage and baleage. If you are thinking “I have to make dry hay out of my annuals” then it is good that you made it to teff! From the plains of Africa, teff is a warm season cereal that provides excellent forage as dry hay. With very fine stems and leaves, teff can be mowed and baled dry reliably. Teff will provide multiple cuttings in a season and also has no prussic acid concern in the fall. Dry matter yields of 4-5 tons can be expected. The key with teff is seedbed preparation. At 2.4 million seeds per pound, teff requires a bare, firm seed bed for even establishment.
Looking for additional diversity with your summer annuals? Consider a blend of some of the above annuals with some warm season legumes and brassicas. Prairie Creek Seed often combines warm season grasses with cowpeas, mung beans, berseem clover and forage brassicas like rapeseed and radishes. These blends provide excellent forage quality while also benefiting soil biology with their varying root systems.