Summer Grazing Mixes
This is a versatile warm-season mix made up of a diverse variety of stress tolerant summer annuals—cowpea, sorghum-sudans, pearl millet, radish, forage brassica and sunflower. Ray’s Crazy Mix is popular as summer soil builder and break crop, but is also used as a high yielding grazing product. To maximize forage quality, begin grazing this mix when the sorghum-sudan and millet have reached 18-20 inches. If re-growth is expected, remove the cows when the residual height is ~6 inches. Successive strips can be planted for season-long grazing. Recommended seeding rate: 40-60 lbs/A.
A high energy and high protein millet-brassica mix for summer grazing, cover crop, or wildlife food plots. Millet balances out the rich brassica with effective fiber, which slows rate of passage through the rumen. The two species provide a multi-level and more diverse warm weather forage, and the different growing habits complement each other well. Both species can uptake and use nitrogen quite well. This mix can be a good way to renovate a pasture. As with a straight stand of millet, there is no threat of prussic acid. Recommended seeding rate: 10-20 lbs/A.
Brassicas are used to extend the grazing season into late fall or early winter, or to provide very high quality summer or fall grazing. Brassicas will not lignify in hot weather, resulting in very high quality feed. They can be seeded in a mix with millet or sorghum sudan. The seeding rate is very low and it makes cows pick up in milk. Sometimes cattle won’t eat it the first day or two. Introduce them slowly and make sure adequate effective fiber is being fed. Brassicas are low in fiber. Typical forage analysis: 25% protein, 215 RFV.
Recommended seeding rate: 4-5 lbs/A
Productive heat tolerant vining summer-annual legume, excellent drought resistance, low fertility and a range of soils. If left to bloom it attracts many beneficial insects that prey on other pests. Slow to start, so it does well in mixes with other quicker growing species, especially those that are rigid and erect-growing that can serve as a trellis to support its growth (for example, summer grasses like millet and sudangrass). Cowpeas are a high-protein forage that work well in a mix context or alone. Best for one-cut, since regrowth is inconsistent. Same as black-eyed peas (dry beans that can be used for human consumption). Recommended seeding rate: 40-60 lbs/A.
Inoculate with peanut inoculant for best results.
Mojo is Barenbrug USA’s new Yellow Jacket®Coated, improved crabgrass that thrives during the hot dry months. Crabgrass is a high quality, high yielding summer annual forage that is excellent for grazing and haying. This variety of crabgrass produces a highly digestible forage (up to 73% NDFd) and high crude protein content (25-30% early season; 15-20% mid-summer; 10% late season). Areas of adaption extend from Nebraska, south and east to the Gulf and Atlantic coasts. Seed very shallow on tightly packed soil after soil reaches 65 degrees F. Recommended seeding rate: 5-8 lbs/A.
A millet that can be used for forage or summer cover crop. It does better in wet soils than many of the other summer annuals. Fast growth and a fibrous root system makes it an excellent cover crop. It has a finer stem than pearl millet and sorghum and makes high quality forage for grazing or hay. Recommended seeding rate: 20 lb/A.
Brown top millet is a very short and leafy species with high tolerance to soil acidity. Works well as a cover crop or bird sanctuary. For forage, use in a one-cut system; does not regrow well. Forage quality is not as high as improved millets. Recommended seeding rate: 10-25 lbs/A.
A compact and digestible forage for grazing, hay or silage. Improved staygreen for later harvests. As a dwarf, it has a high leaf-to-stem ratio, and its short stature means improved standability. More leafiness means better drydown. The BMR background improves digestibility and feed intake. Prime 180M grows rapidly, is disease resistant and tolerant of drought stress, has extensive tillering capacity, and is flexible in various soil pH ranges. Regrowth and traffic tolerance is superior. No prussic acid danger. Lower moisture and faster drydown than sudangrass. Can be used to grazing, hay, or silage. Recommended seeding rate: 15-20 lb/A.
A taller, leafy, digestible forage hybrid for grazing, hay, or silage. Improved staygreen for later harvests. As a dwarf, its short stature makes for excellent standability, but at maturity it is a little taller and leafier than Exceed. More leafiness means better drydown. Its BMR background improves digestibility and feed intake with lower plant lignin. Prime 360M grows rapidly, is disease resistant and tolerant of drought stress, has extensive tillering capacity, and is flexible in various soil pH ranges. Regrowth and traffic tolerance is superior. No prussic acid danger. Lower moisture and faster drydown than sudangrass. Recommended seeding rate: 15-20 lb/A.
This is a warm season annual, similar to sorghum sudans, with no prussic acid danger. Dry matter production is 20 percent less than sorghum sudans, but it has better digestibility and protein. Non-BMR millets have smaller seeds, thus a lower seeding rate.
Wonderleaf needs a soil temperature of 65 degrees F or more to germinate, and growth slows down when cool weather comes (September). Frost kills it, but it can still be grazed with no fear of prussic acid. Will tolerate wetter years better than sorghum-sudans and sudangrass.
It needs good seed-to-soil contact and it’s not as competitive with existing grass as sorghum sudans. Like sorghum sudans, it can use lots of nitrogen.
Wonderleaf will grow a little bushier and not as tall as sudangrass. Start grazing at 12 inches, but make sure the roots are not being pulled up. It should not be allowed to grow taller than 3 feet (or it will lose palatability), nor grazed lower than 6 inches.
Recommended seeding rate: 10-20 lbs/A.
A very small seeded warm season grass that has fine leaves and stems. Teff is native to northern Africa (Ethiopia) and tolerates many soil conditions. Will make very palatable dry hay that livestock and horses love. Teff grass is also is good for grazing after 1st cutting. We were very pleased with its performance in 2007 in regard to yield, drydown, standability and quality.
Because this is a relatively new crop, we are still learning about its management. Many customers have had excellent performance even in severe drought. However, many customers had stand establishment problems which were also evident in some of our test plots. From the successes and failures we have learned the following about teff:
- Seed after soil has warmed over 60° F
- Weeds must be controlled prior to seeding
- Soil must be very firm prior to seeding. A cultipacker seeder (with all cracks taped up and the seeder practically closed) works well, but soil must be very firm prior to using the seeder.
- Seed very shallow (surface seeding is better than too deep). If using a drill, just scratch the seed in.
- Broadleaf weeds may need to be controlled with 2,4-D after the teff is established (3 or more leaves per plant)
- Thickening thin alfalfa stands has had good success for making dry hay in the summer months. Works best on late 1st cuttings and 2nd cuttings. Grass and annual weeds must be controlled prior to seeding.