The ultimate summer mix for diversity—designed with the principles of soil health in mind: keep the soil covered, undisturbed, continuously have a living root, integrate livestock, and have plant diversity. This mix can be planted when soils reach 65 degrees and is typically ready to graze within 50-60 days of planting. Graze and build the soil!
A Versatile Summer Mix
This is a versatile warm-season mix made up of a diverse variety of stress-tolerant summer annuals—cowpea, sorghum-sudans, pearl millet, radish, forage brassica and sunflower—that can be used a short-term cover crop, a soil-building transition crop to renovate depleted soils, a smother crop, a grazing mix, and a wildlife food plot. It also contains several blooming species that, if left to grow and flower, will attract beneficial insect species. The mix is beneficial for both no-till and conventional-till management.
|Sorghum Sudan||A combination of two sorghum sudan varieties to capture the best disease resistance, BMR characteristics, and even photoperiod sensitivity for staged maturity throughout the growing season. Remove livestock from sorghum sudan for 14 days following a frost to avoid prussic acid poisoning.|
|Leafy-T Millet||Millet will be shorter than sorghum sudan to start the season, but increases the density of the mix and later becomes a heavy biomass producer. It's heavy tillering capacity suppresses weeds.|
|Peredovik Sunflowers||Small ruminants may eat the sunflowers throughout the season, but cattle will be pickier and may leave them behind. Sunflower is added for its aggressive taproot.|
|Iron & Clay Cowpeas||Fixes nitrogen and is high in crude protein. Vines up the taller grasses as the season goes on. Be sure to add inoculant to ensure the bacteria are present for nitrogen fixing.|
|Daikon Radish||Fights soil compaction and mines for nutrients deep in the soil|
|T-Raptor Hybrid||A bulbless brassica that provides very leafy growth, regrows very well after harvest or grazing and has prolific taproots that mine deep into the soil for moisture and nutrients.|
Dual Grazing & Cover Crop Application
To maximize forage quality, begin grazing this mix when the sorghum-sudan and millet have reached 18-20 inches. If re-growth is expected, remove the cows when the residual height is ~6 inches. Successive strips can be planted for season-long grazing. The more mature the plants become, the higher the lignin levels and the lower the quality. While allowing them to reach heights depicted in the pictures below is beneficial for the soil, the feed quality produced at this height is better suited for maintenance animals (mature cows). Finding a balance between quality forage and soil health will be determined by your livestock’s needs.
Need to re-seed perennial pastures? Try using this mix as a summer break crop before re-seeding to help build soil health. Protocol is to terminate existing perennial stand in the spring, then plant, grow and graze Ray’s Crazy Mix. Terminate Ray’s Crazy Mix in late summer and re-seed perennial pasture. Great for rotating out of K-31 into Novel Endophyte Fescue!
Strictly Cover Crop Application
For a quick crop rotation turnaround during the summer, grown between spring harvested and late summer planted crops, use the recommended seeding rate. A lower seeding rate is appropriate, IF the crop will be left to grow as a longer-maturing cover crop past the stage of high-quality forage use, simply to maximize biomass and organic matter production in the field. It can be terminated with herbicides, mowed and mulched and left on the surface for no-till scenarios, or it can be mulched and turned under as a green manure in conventional till or organic scenarios. In either case this can be done in time for fall planting.
One multi-use application for this mix is a smother crop for rejuvenating pastures. Seed heavy into a suppressed (by grazing or mowing) existing stand and allow the mix to smother out the existing stand. This does not work in all conditions so consult your extension agent for King’s representative to see if this application will work for your field.
Due to the size of the seed, should be drilled. Calibrate the drill for best results and seed into moisture when soils reach 65 degrees and rising.
|Planting depth (in)||0.5"|
|Target harvest height||2-5ft|
|Target residual height for regrowth||8-10"|