Annual forages can be included into designed crop rotations, and increase overall productivity and profitability. Less herbicide and insecticide need can also be a benefit.
The “Cosaque” Black Oat is a winter oat that overwinters in the southern region. Many growers planted Cosaque in late August in the Southeast from KY south. Excellent fall growth, continuing through the cold of winter in southern states, and matures later in the spring than other oat varieties. Also excellent in cover crop mixes with other cool season annuals. Recommended seeding rate: 80-100 lbs/A.
A leafy, later maturing forage oat. Very wide leaves and longer vegetative window for flexible harvest. Recommended seeding rate: 95-130 lbs/A for forage; 80-100 lb/A for cover crop.
A high-yielding Canadian oat variety. This is a true forage variety that has wide leaves and produces high-quality forage. Although it is leafy, it’s also a tall and erect
plant, averaging more leaves per stem.
Brassicas are used to extend the grazing season into late fall/early winter, or to provide very high quality summer or fall grazing. Brassicas will not lignify in hot weather, resulting in very high-quality feed that helps cows pick up in milk. They can be seeded in a mix with millet or sorghum sudan, in which their seeding rate is very low. Sometimes cattle won’t eat them the first day or two. Introduce brassicas slowly and make sure they are supplemented with adequate effective fiber to slow the rate of passage. Brassicas are low in fiber. Typical forage analysis: 25% protein, 215 RFV. Brassicas can also make an ideal fall or spring cover crop.
Barkant is a vigorous summer/autumn turnip from Holland. It is extremely high yielding and bred specifically for increased leaf growth. The highest concentration of protein and yield is in the leaf. The tankard shaped bulb offers good accessibility. It’s suitable for milking, lamb fattening, ewe flushing or hog rearing. It can be grazed about 2 times. Recommended seeding rate: 4-5 lbs/A.
A cover crop radish variety with deep root growth. CCS 779 Cover Crop Radish can be quite beneficial to row-crop farmers. The plants are able to capture excess nutrients left over from crops like corn and soybeans. As they grow over the fall months, they grow deep tap roots while covering the soil surface with their leafy topgrowth. The roots break up compaction and the surface coverage reduces weeds and erosion. Recommended seeding rate: 12-14 lb/A.
Deep tap root growth, penetrates soil, improves tilth, scavenges and bio-accumulates nitrogen, calcium, sulfur and magnesium from lower soil levels and moves them up to upper soil profile, weed suppressor, suppresses nematodes. Plant early spring as a quick weed suppressor or break crop. Recommended seeding rate: 12-14 lbs/A; 2-5 lbs/A in mixes.
Winfred is a rapeseed: a cross between a turnip and kale. It is the most versatile of the brassicas, being suitable for a wide range of soil fertility and environmental conditions, stock classes and seeding times. Winfred retains leaf and stem quality in frosty or cold conditions. Once established, it is tolerant of dry conditions. Thus this product becomes a flexible multifaceted tool ideal for summer, fall and winter feeding. Winfred is early maturing at 10-12 weeks, making it available for prompt grazing and has the ability to be grazed up to three times throughout the season. Winfred is supported by an aggressive root system thus making it an excellent cover crop option in soil improvement systems incorporated into grazing.
ENTICE is a cost effective wildlife blend that is designed to maximize forage production while minimizing input costs. Annual ryegrass serves as the bulk of the mixture, providing heavy ground cover and yield throughout the late fall and in the spring.
Crimson clover not only provides heavy protein, but also adds nitrogen to the soil, which overtime reduces the need for nitrogen fertilizer.
Two brassicas in this mix, Winfred and T-Raptor, quickly provide grazing in the fall through winter. Once temperatures reach the teens for several days, expect some winter kill. These rapidly growing brassicas attract wildlife early on in the season. Chicory is a biennial forb that is very drought tolerant. This low fiber, mineral dense forage will provide growth for several years. This mix is designed to be broadcasted or drilled very shallow.
Lure is designed to attract and feed wildlife such as deer and turkeys. The unique blend provides excellent nutrition for wildlife that will keep them around all winter long.
The spring oats in the mix will grow rapidly in the early fall of the year, providing quick ground cover to hold soil and smother weeds. The fast oat growth also provides quick nutrient scavenging. The oats winter kill, but provides that early season growth to lure wildlife in.
The triticale provides coverage after the spring oats winter kill, but keep the canopy open enough for the Winfred brassica, Keystone winter peas, and crimson clover to thrive. Winfred brassica comes out of the ground quickly and rapidly attracts wildlife. Strong regrowth allows this brassica to continue to provide nutrition and attract throughout the winter. Crimson clover and winter peas not only provide dense crude protein to the wildlife, but also add nitrogen to the soil to decrease nitrogen fertility needs.
This blend contains larger seeds, and should be drilled for best results.
Winter Forage Peas
Forage peas produce extremely high forage quality and very high crude protein. Makes a good companion crop with oats and triticale. Performs best in cool weather. Recommended seeding rate: 60-100 lbs/A.
Forage peas must be inoculated with pea/vetch inoculant for best nitrogen fixation.
A hardy winter annual pea that works best in mixtures and should be planted 1-2 weeks before recommended barley seeding dates. Austrian Winter Peas have long been the standard against which pea winter-hardiness was evaluated. Austrian winter peas mixed with winter small grains can be a high-yielding combination.
Keystone is a new tall semi-leafless white flowering winter pea with excellent standability and nutritional value. King’s AgriSeeds has tested this pea for three years in Lancaster County, PA and it competes very well with winter annual weeds, as it has excellent early vigor in the fall growth and more spring growth than other peas that King’s has tested. Recommended seeding rate: 120 lb/A.
A white-flowered and lower-growing than Austrian Winter Peas, with improved disease resistance. White flower peas are sugar-sweet, not bitter. They are tannin-free, which greatly improves palatibility. Lynx Winter Pea has tremendous feed value and very good regrowth, making it ideal for grazing and a complement to a winter forage mix. Combined with small grains and other cool season grasses and legumes, Lynx Winter Pea is very nutritious, with protein levels between 14 and 20%. As a cover crop, improved winter hardiness means longer root production, more nodulation, and more nitrogen fixation and biomass production.
Triticale is a cross between wheat and rye. There are many differences among varieties in both appearances and digestibility. We are offering Trical™ products, which have been bred for fiber digestibility. In addition to excellent forage quality, the heading date is similar to wheat – about two weeks after rye.
Gainer 154 is a new high-yielding variety. It is very responsive to good fertility and crop management. With its early maturity (compared to some other triticales), early spring management is important. Apply spring fertilizer earlier to push the crop out of dormancy for maximum yield and protein. Recommended seeding rate: 100-150 lbs/A.
This leafy winter triticale was bred for high forage yield and quality. 815 consistently has the superior NDF digestibility in our test plots! Its maturity date is similar to most winter wheats. Very wide harvest window allows you flexibility in attaining both forage quantity and quality. Harvest before head emergence. Can be no-tilled into thin alfalfa stands to increase first cut tonnage. Also a great grain and straw product. Ask for our brochure. Recommended seeding rate: 100-150 lbs/A.
Also available in Certified Organic.
Rye is cereal crop grown for grain or forage. Rye grain is used for flour and rye bread, as well as animal fodder. Nearly half of the rye grown in the United States is harvested for grain, with the remainder used as pasture, hay, or as a cover crop. Winter rye is planted in the fall to provide ground cover and can be harvested as a crop or tilled directly into the soil in spring to add more organic matter. Rye is the most cold-tolerant small grain and can be planted into the late fall. Recommended seeding rate: 168 lbs/A for forage; 50-120 lb/A for cover crop.
A cover crop rye, Abruzzi was developed 1953 in Georgia as an early winter variety with superior performance in the SE piedmont and coastal plains. A selection of the much older Abruzzi rye. It has rapid establishment and growth. Forage production tends to be spread more uniformly over fall, winter, and early spring than most other cultivars. Wrens Abruzzi has more tolerance to a variety of diseases than many northern bred rye varieties.
A Canadian Rye that is leafier and later than local rye.
Also available in Certified Organic.
Winter Annual Legumes
With nitrogen prices going up in recent years, interest in winter annual legumes has increased dramatically. Much research by universities and other organizations is currently in progress. Many farmers are also experimenting, with much success. However, we are still learning much on this topic. Lots of nitrogen can be produced during flowering of these nitrogen fixing crops. Some of our dealers are doing test plots to try to fine tune management.
Arrowleaf clover is a highly productive winter annual clover adapted to the deep south. Arrowleaf is most productive on well-drained soils. It will produce less forage in late fall than crimson clover, but can produce about six weeks longer into the spring. This can help extend the grazing season into late May or early summer. Recommended seeding rate: 10-15 lbs/A.
A high quality winter annual that can be used for both forage (usually in combination with a small grain or annual ryegrass) or as a nitrogen fixing cover crop. Will be ready for plow down in late April to early May. Well-adapted to the Mid-Atlantic and South. Crimson clover also has a beautiful crimson colored flower. Plant by September 1st for best results in Lancaster, PA. Ready to plow down 2 to 3 weeks earlier in spring than hairy vetch. Recommended seeding rate: 15-25 lbs/A.
Must be inoculated with clover inoculant for best nitrogen fixation.
A cool season annual legume with similar winter hardiness to winter peas and crimson clover. This crop can be used for forage, cover crop and wildlife uses. Fixation tolerates both low and high pH soils plus very wet soils. It also has a high amount of hard seed that can remain viable in the soil for three years.
Fixation matures approximately 14 days later than Dixie Crimson Clover and as much as 28 days later than other commercially available Balansa varieties. Despite being later in maturity, overall growth is greater than that of the earlier maturing Balansa clover varieties throughout the growing cycle. The later maturity allows for multiple cuttings/grazing and reduces the likelihood of unwanted re-seeding. Fully developed plants exhibit excellent re-growth, and recover more rapidly than other clovers. Forage yield is quite impressive, reaching as much as 5,250 lbs of extremely digestible dry matter in a single cutting. Plants are able to support growth up to 3 feet high with stems as long as 8 feet long. Crude protein levels range from 22% to 28.4% with relative feed values measured as high as 277.
Balansa Clover is a cool season annual and performs well on a range of soils. It is high-producing on both acidic and alkaline soils. Recommended seeding rate: 3-8 lbs/A.
A winter annual that can provide both a cover crop and produce nitrogen during late April to late May. Do not plant where small grains are to be used as a grain crop, as it can become a weed. Plant by early October in most parts of the South. Recommended seeding rate: 25-30 lbs/A.
Must be inoculated with pea/vetch inoculant for best nitrogen fixation.
Both annual and Italian ryegrasses make superior quality forage that is excellent in providing energy through high sugars, pectins and digestible fiber. Management is critical for success and occasional winter injury may occur if winter arrives “overnight”. However, it seems we get very little injury if seeded with small grains. For those without experience with annual ryegrass, we suggest that these ryegrasses be incorporated into your system through our mixtures.
See our tech sheet, Managing Annual and Italian Ryegrass as a Double Crop
Striker is an improved medium-late maturity Tetraploid annual ryegrass. It was selected from several proven commercial varieties with a focus on high forage yield balanced with high seed yield. In addition, it has excellent crown rust resistance and some resistance to Helminthosporium leaf spot disease and gray leaf spot disease. Striker shows moderate cold tolerance, and was developed by the University of Florida. Recommended seeding rate: 35-40 lb/A.
LowBoy low-growing annual ryegrass is an innovative new tool for cover crop systems. Unlike traditional annual ryegrasses, LowBoy’s growth focuses on canopy density rather than height. Additionally, LowBoy plants form a tremendous roots system that is both deep and wide. LowBoy also has improved cold tolerance.
Finally, LowBoy terminates with ease. These features make LowBoy a candidate for use both in a single-species as well as a multi-species cover crop system. Low-Boy is also endophyte-free and safe for all livestock.
GREAT GROUND COVERAGE LowBoy covers more ground. Compared to other annual ryegrasses, LowBoy has much more aggressive tillering. This spreading effect minimizes bare soil, runoff, evaporation, and unwanted weeds during the growing season. LowBoy is truly excellent temporary ground cover.
DEEP AND WIDE ROOTS In multiple evaluations, LowBoy has demonstrated an extensive root system with two predictable characteristics. First, LowBoy has very dense roots directly under each plant. These roots are wide and thick, penetrating soil with countless channels. Second, LowBoy sends roots deep. In soil pit/plug studies, LowBoy demonstrated root depths as deep, if not deeper than other well-known cover-crop ryegrasses.
COLD TOLERANT LowBoy has shown very good cold tolerance throughout the country, providing confidence in use throughout the United States.
EASY TERMINATION When late spring arrives, LowBoy goes away with ease, making the transition to row crops or warm season crops easy. Compared to traditional ryegrasses, LowBoy has significantly less top-growth. Excessive top-growth can be difficult to burn down chemically as well as hinder no-till seeding and sufficient light penetration to dry out and warm up soil. LowBoy is there when you need it, and leaves when you don’t, allowing easier establishment of primary crops, such as corn and soybeans.
Mixes with Small Grains
This blend is perfect for those without a drill or who want to seed a cover crop with ease. Annual ryegrass, crimson clover, balansa clover, along with radishes and turnips all broadcast without incorporation very well. This mix will cover the soil, suppress weeds, and fix nitrogen throughout the growing season.
An annual mixture that that will give both quick fall growth and a spring harvest. Oats and annual ryegrass will give quick fall growth. The oats generally winter kill if temperatures drop into the teens. Both the Tri-Cal® 815 triticale and the annual ryegrass will overwinter (with proper fall management) and produce a cutting of high quality forage in the spring. This mix is a balance for both fall and spring production. Fall production will most likely be less than a straight stand of oats or our Oats Plus mix. Spring production will likely be a little less than straight triticale, straight ryegrass or our Triticale Plus mixture. However, for maximum combined production in fall and spring, Double Play offers excellent potential. Recommended seeding rate: 150-200 lbs/A.
An annual mixture that that will give both quick fall growth and a spring harvest. This mix can be planted in early spring or late summer. It works well for machine harvest and grazing. Oats and annual ryegrass are both rapidly growing annuals that make high quality forage. Harvest in fall and get two cuttings of annual ryegrass in spring. Recommended seeding rate: 75-90 lbs/A.
This is a versatile cool season mix made up of grasses, legumes, and brassicas that can be used a short-term cover crop, a soil-building transition crop to renovate depleted soils, a grazing mix, or some combination of these. It also contains several blooming species that, if left to grow and flower, will attract beneficial species. The mix can benefit both no-till and conventional-till soils and consists of all Non-GMO seeds. Recommended seeding rate: 40-50 lbs/A (both forage and cover crop seeding rate).
An annual mixture that that will give both quick fall growth and a spring harvest. Rye is the most cold tolerant winter annual, but is also the earliest to finish growing. By pairing cereal rye with annual ryegrass, you are able to capture winter growth and maintain quality well into the spring.
Ryegrass component excels in fertile soils. Excellent for nutrient management but apply manure prior to seeding.
Wet – Poor because harvest will be very difficult.
Drought – Fair. Productive during fall and spring, which tends to reduce drought risk.
pH Range – 6.0 and higher.
Traffic Tolerance: Good. If soil is wet during fall harvest, damage can cause stand problems
Graze when cereal rye reaches 8-10 inches. Leave behind at least 3-4” of stubble to protect the ryegrass seedlings. Expect the mixture to transition from cereal rye to ryegrass in mid-spring.
A mix of TriCal 815 Triticale, crimson clover, hairy vetch, MO1 & KB Supreme Annual Ryegrass, and Daikon radish. An excellent spring forage and/or overwintering cover crop. Clovers and vetch provide protein in a forage application, and triticale and ryegrass contribute effective fiber and bulk. This mix is ideal for a spring grazing or cutting when the triticale reaches flag leaf or boot stage. Recommend seeding rate: 120-140 lbs/A as a forage; 60-90 lbs/A as a cover crop.
A mixture of triticale and annual ryegrass. Designed for one or two spring cuts of haylage. This mixture will have excellent NDFd when harvested prior to boot stage. Even more tonnage than triticale by itself. Works great to thicken old alfalfa fields in the fall for one huge cutting the following spring. The triticale will add some bulk to the forage for easier silo unloading, while the ryegrass adds sugars and high fiber digestibility. Can be seeded into mid-fall. Recommended seeding rate: 90-140 lbs/A.