University of Idaho scientists tested six summer annual species for fall and winter grazing on irrigated pastures in the Intermountain West. The cool desert areas of the region have short growing seasons with high daytime temperatures, and cool-season forages don't do well during late summer, they explain.
They tested the merits of corn, teff, German foxtail millet, pearl millet, proso millet and sorghum-sudangrass for extending the grazing season. All species were planted no-till except teff, which was planted following minimum tillage. Yield samples were taken from each plot, and the forage was tested for crude protein, ADF, NDF, calcium and phosphorus. Heifers grazed the plots during November and December, and animal grazing days were recorded.
The nutrient content of all species was sufficient, but teff, proso millet and pearl millet produced fewer grazing days than the other species, say the researchers. They concluded that corn, sorghum-sudangrass and German millet are acceptable for fall and winter grazing in the region.