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Planting Issues Continue, Raising More Questions

University of Minnesota Extension, Stearns County News
June 11, 2014         
Source:  Dan Martens, Extension Educator
University of Minnesota Extension
Stearns, Benton & Morrison Counties

Planting Issues Continue, Raising More Questions

FOLEY, Minn. (06/05/14) — I’m revising an article I wrote last year around June 24. I’m writing this after adding up 12 inches of rain in my gauge since April 15 and I know there are places that had 6 to 8 inches reported during the past weekend. Recent heavy rains may require replanting some fields, especially where feed needs are significant. Before replanting, check with your crop insurance rep first for documentation.

Dairy and beef producers are trying to at least grow enough corn for silage feed. We might be able to plant very early season corn varieties to get grain yet until about June 10-15. As we get later in that range and farther north in our area, that might be harvested as high moisture corn or snaplage. Last year, some dairy and beef farmers planted corn into the first week of July with the goal of making corn silage. Past experience counts a lot.

Farmers who have serious concerns about corn acres that are not planted May 31 and Soybean acres not planted by June 10 should contact their crop insurance agents to document field conditions and get information about how further planting and crop decisions play out with crop insurance policies. Planting 103 day corn mid to end of June might not qualify as an “accepted” farming practice for grain based coverage. Livestock producers should work closely with their livestock nutrition advisors.

One of the more recent field trials looking at late planted crops was done near Pelican Rapids in Ottertail County in 2002 and 2003, at Rosemount in 2002 and on the UM St. Paul Campus in 2003. There may be other sources of useful information. 2002 was an ideal growing season with suitable temperature and adequate moisture. 2003 turned drier as the summer progressed.

A variety of crops was planted near the end of May, the Middle of June and around July 1 including 3 different corn maturities with silage in mind, forage sorghum, sorghum sudan-grass, regular sudan grass, Brown mid-rib varieties, Japanese-pearl-and foxtail millet, barley, oats, oats and peas, soybeans for forage, and alfalfa.

Forage samples were tested for a common mix of feed quality factors. Summary comments in this study indicated that corn and forage sorghum may be among the best choices for planting dates even in early July. Forage Sorghum was close to corn. Sorghum/sudangrass, sudangrass, Japanese and hybrid pearl millet were comparable in tonnage in some situations.

Foxtail millet makes grass hay very similar to bromegrass. It heads about 60 days after planting. As with other grasses, you will get better quality and somewhat lower yields when cut before heading. Soybeans can make a forage crop similar to alfalfa hay with a relative feed value of about 140 if chopped when the beans in the pod and leaves are still green.

In Stearns, Benton and Morrison Counties, you’re welcome to call for a copy of this article at 968-5077 if a local call to Foley or 1-800-964-4929. You can try and Internet search for “Yield and Feeding Value of Annual Crops for Emergency Forage” or for “MN Greenbook 2004” and look for page 45. You can also search the internet for “Wisconsin Extension Forage” for similar information.

For counties that do not have Extension Ag Staff, a good connection for information is the U of M Extension Farm Information Line 1-800-232-9077.

NOTE: Check for alfalfa weevil larvae (AWL) if second crop alfalfa doesn’t start fairly soon after cutting. We may need to watch for AWL through second crop harvest.


Daniel Martens
Extension Educator, Ag Production Systems
(320) 968-5077
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