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News, events, and happenings in Colquitt County agriculture.

This time of year, I often get questions about what type of summer annual forages to plant in Colquitt County. Warm season annual grasses are established from seed and are productive during spring and summer. Below are great tips from Dr. Lisa Baxter on the subject of summer annual forages.

Dr. Lisa Baxter Extension Forage Specialist (UGA-Tifton)

  • Buy certified seed (look for the blue tag)
  • Prepare your seedbed
    • Plow/disc at least 2-4 wks prior to planting
    • Incorporate lime and fertilizer
    • Incorporate PPI herbicide
    • Allow time to settle or firm with cultipacker/roller
      • Boot tracks should be ~1/4 in. deep
    • Broadcasting may be faster but will increase seeding costs and will likely result in lower yields!
    • Seed to soil contact is critical for germination!
  • Plant the right rate at the right time
  Seeding Rate
SpeciesPlanting DateDrilledBroadcast
Pearl MilletApr. 1 – Aug. 112-1520-25
Sorghum x SudanApr. 1 – Aug. 1515-2025-30
SudangrassApr. 1 – Aug. 110-1520-25
Forage SorghumApr. 15 – June 16-8NR
Crabgrass 3-5 
  • Plant at the correct depth
    • Millets and Sorghums: 1/2” to 1”
    • Crabgrass: no deeper than 1/4”
    • Seeding too deep is a major cause of establishment failure!
    • Coulters should cut about twice depth of seed’s size

10. Graze or bale

  1. Yields are contingent on planting date and weather
    1. Quality depends on stage of growth
    1. Don’t graze too short (be aware of growing points à especially if you are looking for regrowth)
Pearl millet produces several tillers (new shoots) at the base of the plant (left). After pearl millet
is cut or grazed, new tillers emerge from basal buds at the base of the plant (right). As a result of this
anatomical trait, pearl millet can be grazed to within 4 – 6 inches and still recover relatively quickly (e.g.,
12-18 days of rest before grazing again or 22-35 days for being cut for hay or baleage again.)
Sorghum x sudangrass paddocks (left) grazed to 8 – 12 inches will optimize regrowth rate. This is
because sorghum x sudangrass grows back from axillary buds at the node where the leaf blade connects with
the stem.

If you have forage questions please contact your local county Extension agent.