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Try Seeding Forages into Wheat StubbleTry Seeding Forages into Wheat Stubble

They conserve moisture, control erosion and bury weed seeds.

June 30, 2008

1 Min Read

Wheat stubble can be an excellent seedbed to plant forages into using no-till.

Planting alfalfa, turnips, or summer annual grasses using no-till into wheat stubble has many advantages, says Bruce Anderson, University of Nebraska forage specialist. Soil moisture is conserved, erosion is reduced, weed seeds remain buried, and tillage expenses are eliminated.

Despite these advantages, many growers still experience spotty stands.

To help ensure success when planting into wheat stubble, take a few extra steps. One big challenge is heavy residue that might limit proper drill operation and seed placement or even might 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 the straw and remove excess residue, Anderson says. Also, make sure your drill is performing as it should.

Another challenge is weeds such as annual weeds that develop after wheat is combined and volunteer wheat that sprouts later in the summer. Control weeds prior to planting with herbicides like glyphosate. And be ready with post-emerge herbicides such as Select or Poast Plus for latter emerging weeds or volunteer wheat if those products are permitted for the forage you are planting.

Finally, consider cross- or double-drilling. Plant one-half of the seed while driving one direction, then plant the other half driving in a different direction. This helps fill in gaps, develops canopy and improves weed control earlier, and may help you plant the right amount of seed if you commonly end up running out or have much seed left over.

Wheat stubble makes a good seedbed. Make it even better with a few management adjustments, Anderson says.

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