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Other Forage

Find production tips on specialty or non-traditional forages – from cover crops to corn stover, and sorghums to small grains or brassicas.

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Johnsongrass is common along roads in the Ozarks but there is a lot about the species that people don’t know.

Johnsongrass has been in America since a South Carolina farmer named William Johnson promoted it in the South during the 1840s. Since then it has moved north and west and is commonly seen in pastures, hayfields and along roads.

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In years when forages are in short supply, or winter-kill in alfalfa has been a problem, small grain/forage pea mixtures should be considered. For new alfalfa or mixed hay seedings, small grain/forage peas make a good companion crop, competing well with weeds and protecting vulnerable soils from erosion.

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Recent increases in the cost of nitrogen (N) fertilizer are causing crop and pasture managers to reconsider the use of legume species for their long-known ability to fix N for themselves and other crops.

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The term “brassica” covers turnip, kale, forage rape and swede. Brassicas are cool-season annuals that have high proteins (15 percent to 20 percent crude protein) and digestibility (65 percent to 80 percent).

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Other than johnsongrass, I can’t think of any forage that has an equal number of pros and cons listed in its bio. In addition, producers are equally dispersed when discussing the ‘love-hate’ attributes of this grass.

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Farmers can consider seeding an annual forage crop after their winter wheat, says a Purdue Extension forage specialist.

In Indiana, farmers typically seed a late crop of soybean after harvesting winter wheat, but sometimes, especially in the northern part of the state, the growing season is not long enough to accommodate both crops, Keith Johnson said. Carefully selected forage crops, which can be used for silage, hay and livestock grazing, are able to produce vegetative growth for harvest before the growing season ends.

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