Wheat stubble can be an excellent seedbed for forages, but planting into it may require a few management adjustments. Bruce Anderson, University of Nebraska-Lincoln forage specialist, recommends using these tips to get the forage stands you want.
No-till planting of alfalfa, turnips, summer annual grasses, or other cover crops into wheat stubble provides many advantages for producers. Soil moisture is conserved, erosion is reduced, weed seeds remain buried and tillage expenses are eliminated. Despite these advantages, many growers unfortunately still experience spotty stands.
To help ensure success when planting forages into wheat stubble, Anderson lists the following steps to follow:
- Heavy residue can be a challenge and limit proper drill operation and seed placement or even partly smother new seedlings. Residue can be especially troublesome right behind the combine even when using a good straw chopper. The best way to minimize this problem is to bale and remove heavy residue levels and use a well-functioning drill.
- Weeds also create a challenge, either annual weeds that develop after wheat is combined or volunteer wheat that sprouts later in the summer. Control weeds prior to planting with herbicides such as glyphosate and be ready to use post-emergence herbicides like Select or Poast Plus for later emerging weeds or volunteer wheat.
- Consider cross- or double-drilling the field. Plant one-half of the seed while driving one direction, then plant the other half driving in a different direction. This procedure helps fill in gaps, develops canopy, and improves weed control earlier. It may even help you plant the right amount of seed if you commonly end up running out or have much seed left over.