Double Cropping forages on crop ground |

Double Cropping forages on crop ground


There are many producers looking at ways to grow more forage for hay or pasture.  Double cropping annual forages can be an option.

Successful double cropping of annual forages requires good planning and timely operations along with some timely moisture.  To use this approach this spring, small grains like oats or spring triticale, would need to be planted here in late March to early April.  Grazing of these plantings can begin around the third week of May last until early July if stocked and managed properly.

As portions of this spring planting get grazed out, the double crop of a summer annual grass like sudangrass or pearl millet can be planted.  With adequate moisture, the summer annual grass will be ready to graze in forty-five to fifty days and may last through September.

This double crop forage strategy works even better if winter annual cereals like winter rye, wheat, or triticale were planted last fall for spring forage.  They will be ready to graze earlier than any spring planting and like the spring plantings, as portions are grazed out, plant summer annual grasses to begin grazing them by mid-summer.

Another strategy is to plant the summer annual grasses first in mid- to late May.  Graze portions of them out in August, then plant oats or turnips or both for late fall and winter grazing.

Of course, adequate moisture or irrigation is needed for these options to produce both double crops.  Thus, it is wise to have a nearby pasture where animals can be placed and fed temporarily if extra time is needed to grow sufficient forage for grazing.

–UNL Extension