Forage soybean as an alternative forage crop

Forage soybean can be an alternative emergency crop with high forage quality after major crop failure caused by winterkill or poor establishment.

Main forage crop failure resulting from winterkill, poor establishment or severe drought can cause feed shortage. Annual forages for either warm-season or cool-season can play an important role in compensating feed shortage as an emergency forage crop. In the late 1990s, three varieties of forage soybean, derry, donegal and tyrone, were developed and released by the United States Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service in Maryland. Also there are roundup-ready forage soybean varieties on the market. If forage soybean is properly planted and harvested at optimum stage of maturity, this crop may produce high quality forage. Following are the characteristics and planting tips of forage soybeans.

Forage soybeans as a alternative forage cropUses: fresh-chopped, silage and food plot

Height: Forage soybean is much taller than traditional soybean; it can be as tall as 30-50 inches.

Seeding rate: 50 pounds per acre, equivalent to 155,000 seeds per acre

Seeding date: Mid to late May

Harvesting time: when forage soybean reaches between 28-36 inches

Yield potential: two to four dry matter tons per acre

Forage quality: Crude Protein (CP) 14-19%, Acid Detergent Fiber (ADF) 30-50%, Neutral Detergent Fiber (NDF) 40-60% and Digestibility: 60-70%

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