Producers may also want to look into options to prevent forage shortages in the future. Double cropping can allow producers to harvest two forage crops off a given acreage in one year. This can be especially helpful if a producer simply does not have more acres to commit to forage production. Fall planted winter wheat or winter triticale is one of the earliest crops to green up in spring and can be chopped early, allowing time to follow with corn silage. There is also some research out of Wisconsin suggesting an option of following small grain harvest with a seeding of oats for grazing or chopping in fall. Oftentimes spring and/or fall manure application is possible with these scenarios as well. For producers who have limited acres to spread manure, double cropping can also offer some remediation for nutrient loading by adding one more crop and additional tons of matter removed from the field.
The bright news is several options still exist to increase forage supplies for this year. Producers can benefit from consulting with both their nutritionist and their agronomist on how different cropping options might work for their farming operation. For more information on forage research at the University of Minnesota, visit www.extension.umn.edu/agriculture/forages or contact your local county Extension Educator.