Forage Resources in Drought

Recently some areas of the state received a nice shot of rain while other areas have received zero. Joe Lawrence, PRO-DAIRY Dairy Forage Systems Specialist, has been receiving questions about emergency forages and has updated a resource on Drought and Forages. At this point few options are viable as most commonly used annual forage crops need to be planted by early July to produce a viable crop.

Oats seeded around the beginning of August can produce reasonable results, assuming we get some late summer rain. Kitty O'Neil shared data on late planted summer oats for forage from 2016 in NNY, with yield potential in good as well as drought situations.

  • Seed end of July/beginning of August
  • Harvest at boot stage in 50 to 65 days
  • As with winter grains, nitrogen (N) needs are likely to vary by field manure history. 50 units of N may be warranted if manure history is light.

Winter grains may be an option for some early spring forage but depending on what the spring of 2019 brings, they may or may not be ready for harvest much earlier than first cutting.