Two forage crops, one season

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Skyrocketing feed prices have left many livestock producers shuffling the deck on their cropping plans for 2007. One possibility for some may be to plant short-season corn for silage on land currently seeded to alfalfa -- after the first cutting is harvested -- versus dedicating other precious corn ground to silage production. University of Wisconsin crops specialist Mike Rankin says the practice is possible, but requires specific conditions and extra management. His advice:

  • Adequate rainfall has to come in June, or the impending corn crop will be a disaster. At the time of planting corn, the alfalfa already has depleted soil moisture reserves.
  • Recognize in advance that yield for the corn silage will be lower than that for corn planted in April and May.
  • Aggressive weed control, via either tillage, herbicide burn-down, or a combination of the two, will be necessary in advance of corn planting.
  • Test soils to determine the correct amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium necessary to replenish nutrients extracted by the alfalfa, and fertilize accordingly.

Follow this link to read more of Rankin’s insight on this cropping possibility.



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