OSU's Alex Rocateli on Inter-Seeding Annuals in Perennial PasturesTue, 24 Aug 2021 13:15:07 CDT
Every season brings its own challenges for Oklahoma farmers. Oklahoma State University Forage and Pasture Management Specialist Alex Rocateli, told KC Sheperd that he thinks small-grains producers can get the most out of their perennial pastures, by growing winter wheat during the Bermuda grass offseason.
Bermuda grass pastures grow well in Oklahoma from late spring, as temperatures rise and precipitation increases to early fall, as temperatures fall. Winter Wheat is just the opposite, which is why Rocateli started his research by looking at the symbiotic relationhip of the two crops.
“That would extend our grazing season,” Rocateli said.
Rocateli warns that this system may not work for every producer. Producers in areas of the state with low levels of rainfall throughout summer would most likely have to irrigate, and if they’re irrigating, they are probably irrigating a crop that brings in more money than Bermuda grass, Rocateli said. Next, producers will not get the same yield numbers with inter-seeding as they would with tilling and planting only wheat, he added. On top of that, there is some overlap of the two crop seasons, which can further impact yield, he warned.
“Don’t expect that you’re going to have the same high production that you could have in clean-tilled ground,” Rocateli said. “Those two plants - one may compete with the other for some period of time.”
Rocateli said the benefits of inter-seeding are to make land more productive overall, improve water retention and provide competition for less nutritious weeds on grazing lands.
The key to making this strategy work is to make conditions best for whatever crop is set to emerge as the new season opens, Rocateli said.
“When you are inter-seeding wheat, you need to have some strategy so the wheat will emerge well,” Rocateli said. “(In late spring,) you need to make sure that you have terminated the wheat, so your Bermuda grass can come back easily.”
Rocateli said he is still in the early stages of his research. He has yet to try inter-seeding Bermuda pasture with alfalfa, clover and legumes.
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