Annual forages can play an important part in any forage system. They can be used as hay, silage, or grazing. When supplemental forags are needed due to winter injury, drought, or producers are interested in extened grazing/growing seasons, annual forages should be considered.
Forage Sorghum– A large, warm season, annual grass usually grown for silage. Forage sorghum is best adapted to warm regions and is particularly noted for its drought tolerance compared to corn. Forage sorghum growth can range from 5 to 15 feet tall, depending on the hybrid. Hybrids can be fertile and produce grain yields comparable to grain sorghum, or they can be sterile and produce no grain. Yields of forage sorghums are comparable to corn and can range from 15 to 30 ton per acre depending on the soil, weather, and the hybrid.
Sorghum-Sudangrass- Sorghum-sudangrass is a cross between sorghum and sudangrass. It is a finer stemmed warm season annual grass when compared to forage sorghum and will re-grow after each harvest. Sorghum-Sudan grasses yield slightly lower than corn when harvested for silage, but they have the advantage that they can be cut 2-3 times during the season and can also be stored as either chopped silage or wrapped bale silage, green chopped or pastured. Select varieties of sorghum-sudangrass can be used for dry hay production.
Sudangrass – Sudangrass is a fast growing summer annual that generally grows from 4 to 7 feet tall, has leaves about ½ inch wide and stems about ¼ inch in diameter. It can be harvested as pasture, green chop, hay, or silage, and can be ready for harvest in as early as 45 days after planting. Yields have ranged from 3 to 5 Ton/Acre dry matter. The smaller stems give it better drying characteristics than other sorghums for hay making, and newer hybrids are available that are slightly larger and higher yielding.
Teff Grass – Teff is an extremely small seeded summer annual grass primarily used in dry hay production. A firm seed bed and a soil temperature of at least 70 degrees is needed when seeding. First harvest is generally 50-55 days after planting with subsequent harvest in 40-45 days. Three cut systems can easily average 4 Ton/Acre with proper management.
Pearl Millet – Peal Millet is a summer annual with exceptional drought tolerance that works well in haying, grazing, silage, and greenchop situations. It has a slower growth and regrowth than the sorghum-sudans, but prussic acid is not a problem with pearl millet. Pearl millet also tolerates acidic soils better than the sorghum family.
German Millet – Also called Foxtail Millet, German Millet is a late maturing, warm season annual crop. It has medium stem thickness and numerous broad leaves up the stem. It is shallow rooted, but tolerates short periods of drought during the growing season. German Millet produces most of its growth during July and August, though the plant remains vegetative and grows rapidly whenever moisture is present. Used primarily for dry hay production and in food plots.
Japanese Millet – Japanese Millet is a summer annual commonly grown for mid-season grazing and forage production. Forage is very palatable and can be utilized multiple times during the growing season. Japanese Millet works very well in duck ponds.
Please contact us for information on currently available varieties.