Upper Midwestern growers are contending not only with a late, cool spring, but also with having to reseed or plow up alfalfa stands showing moderate to severe winterkill damage.
Those who want tonnage fast can seed a mixture of 2 lbs/acre oats with 20 lbs/acre peas, says Dan Undersander, University of Wisconsin Extension forage specialist. Spotty, thin alfalfa stands can be seeded with a 10-lb/acre 50-50 mix of forage-type annual Italian and perennial ryegrasses drilled into patches or entire fields.
Other annual forage grasses include teff or barley as fast-growing interseeding options, says Stephen Barnhart, Iowa State University Extension forage specialist. Consider interseeding red clover or a winterhardy perennial forage grass in stands two years or older, but expect little production the first year.
Or plant a row crop like corn, Barnhart suggests. For more on winterkill options, read Winterkill Claims Alfalfa, Other Forages In Upper Midwest.
Photos by Brian Lang, Iowa State University Extension