July Forage Considerations

As we transition into a new month, it is always good to remind ourselves about forage management practices that remain or become a focus. Below are forage management practices that transition from other months or are first noted for this time of year.

  • Take soil tests so proper amount of lime and fertilizers can be applied.
  • Continue scouting for potato leafhopper in alfalfa fields. This insect stunts growth and reduces yield. Insecticide application should be applied when the economic threshold occurs. A “rule of thumb” that I use is .1 leafhopper per inch of plant height per sweep with a 15-inch diameter sweep net. Harvest is another option if economic threshold has been reached and the crop is ready to be harvested.
  • Seed adapted summer-annual grasses, legumes, and brassicas as a double crop pronto after harvesting soft red winter wheat or spring oat grain. This task should be completed before mid-July.
  • Do not overgraze. Residual height should be no less than 4 inches with cool-season grass and cool-season grass/legume pastures.
  • Provide supplemental forage during periods of low pasture production.
  • Remove livestock from cool-season grass pastures and turn them out on summer-annual grass pastures, if available and ready to be grazed.
  • Purchase forage seed to be sown in August from a knowledgeable seed company. Make sure the forage is adapted to the selected site.
  • Remember to purchase the specific rhizobia inoculant for the legume to be seeded so legumes can fix their own nitrogen.
  • Cut hay if ready for harvest.
  • Northern Indiana: Till fields intended for an August seeding of perennial cool-season grasses and alfalfa. Incorporate recommended fertilizer that has been determined by a soil test.
  • If you typically buy hay for winter feeding, consider buying it out of the field from a local producer now. Prices are typically lower now than in the winter.
  • Cut brush and unwanted trees in pastures. Treat stumps with a herbicide labeled for the control of regrowth.

Being timely with implementation of management practices is critical for most success. Develop a plan and follow through so most opportunity of success can occur. An excellent source of forage information is the Purdue Forage Field Guide. Forage Field Guide, fourth edition (purdue.edu)

grazing cow

Seeding a warm-season annual grass like sorghum-sudangrass in early July can supply excellent grazing in September. (Photo Credit: Keith Johnson)

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