By Mark Sulc, Extension Forage Specialist, Department of Horticulture and Crop Science and Bill Weiss, Extension Dairy Specialist, Department of Animal Sciences, The Ohio State University
Many dairy producers are facing a critical forage shortage to feed their herds. Forage stands were damaged across Ohio this past winter, and the wet spring has further deteriorated the few stands that initially appeared they might recover from winter damage. It is now too risky to try to establish new perennial forage stands, with the warmer summer weather coming on. We should wait until August to establish perennial stands. Meanwhile, what options can we consider for growing forage this year?
We are well past the time when cool-season species like oats, triticale, Italian ryegrass, and spring barley can be planted. Sudangrass, sorghum x sudangrass hybrids, pearl millet, and forage sorghum grow rapidly in summer and yield a total of 3.5 to 5 tons of DM with acceptable nutritive value.