We are quickly approaching the second good opportunity of the year for establishing perennial forage stands, which is in the month of August. Most of us were not able to establish forages this spring, and many existing stands were damaged by the winter followed by the heavy rainfall this year. It is time to make preparations and be ready to plant perennial forage stands in the next few weeks.
Typically, the main risk with late summer forage seedings is sufficient moisture for seed germination and plant establishment. However, many parts of Ohio have adequate soil moisture from recent rains, and the outlook for the first half of August is for normal precipitation levels. Prepare now and be ready to take advantage of planting ahead of storm fronts as they occur in late July and early August.
Advantages to late summer forage establishment include the following: forage seedlings are not competing with the flush of annual spring and summer weed emergence/growth, soil borne root rot and damping off disease organisms that thrive in cool, wet soils are usually not an issue, and there may be fewer competing farm tasks than in the spring.