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Posted 26 June 2014. PMN Crop News.

Few Good Forage Options Available for Replant After Storms

Source: University of Nebraska Press Release.

Lincoln, Nebraska (June 15, 2014)--Hail, tornados, high winds, and floods have damaged thousands of row crop acres. Sometimes planting an annual forage to replace these damaged crops should be considered. To do this effectively and legally, though, you'll want to follow these steps:


1. Contact insurance agent and file claim: This may seem obvious, but don't react too quickly to weather-damaged crops and start replanting. Make sure your crop damage is adequately evaluated first by a crop adjuster or other reliable person; it may have a better chance of recovery than looks likely initially. If you want to replant before the crop adjusting can be completed, ask about leaving check strips. Be sure to ask how various replant options affect insurance for the current crop and the replanted crop. Rules for hail insurance often are different from federal crop insurance or multi-peril insurance.

2. Ask how FSA (USDA Farm Services Agency) will record your yields and acres: Replant crop selection and planting date may affect how your APH (actual production history) is calculated, influencing future insurance options. Are these records based on units or enterprise?

3. Check replant options for previously applied herbicides: Many herbicides used on corn or soybeans have strong and/or long-lasting residual activity. Often the most commonly used annual forages are sensitive to this residual herbicide activity. Soybean herbicides that are effective on grassy weeds often prevent establishment of sorghums, sudans, millets, and small grains for several months after application. Corn herbicides often have similar limitations although some are tolerated by forage sorghums.

It may be tempting to plant a crop before it is normally approved for replanting and hope it survives and thrives. While this occasionally succeeds, growers assume all risks known and unknown for the crop, besides the potential cost of crop failure.

4. Check forage use restrictions for herbicides applied: Herbicides must receive testing and approval before they can be used legally on grazed or harvested forages. This includes crops planted initially for grain but later harvested as a forage as well as forage crops replanted after weather damages the initial crop.

It may not be legal to graze or harvest forage from crops grown on land treated with some of the herbicides used for grain crops, especially many soybean herbicides. This can be due to lack of data from testing these herbicides specifically for the safety of crops treated with the herbicide and grown as forage. Other times, though, tests have discovered potentially dangerous chemicals passing into the food chain from some of these herbicides when used as forage so such use has been forbidden. Read the label and/or check with you chemical supplier before replanting to a forage.

5. Select annual forage for replanting: As described above, herbicides and other factors may limit forage options. Fortunately, both corn and soybean can be used as forage crops for silage, hay, green chop, and even grazing. In many fields, using the same crop as initially planted will remain the best choice. Often the intent might be to still get a grain harvest but if growing season conditions prevent adequate development or maturity, a forage salvage option remains available.

The most commonly used replant forages this time of year are summer annual forages: sudangrass, sorghum-sudan hybrids, forage sorghum, pearl millet, foxtail millet, and teff. If these remain as viable options after all conditions above have been evaluated, regular cultural practices can be used to establish, grow, harvest, and use these crops.

Grain sorghum and sunflowers also might be options, either for grain or as forages.

In some situations it may be necessary to wait until August or September before planting a forage crop. Small grain cereals like winter rye, wheat, and oats then might be appropriate. Brassicas such as turnips, forage rape, and radishes also may be options at that time.

Caution: Because of all the factors to consider, there are few good forage options available for replant following recent storms. Consider especially the forage species you intend to grow and the impact of any herbicides applied to the previous crop.