Growing Warm Season Annuals for Lambs

To keep your lambs "grazing high" through the summer, give Cowpeas a chance! In my previous On Pasture article, I recommend that you keep grassfed lambs “grazing high,” especially in late summer and early fall. When I say “high,” I’m referring to both the nutritional quality and the height of the forage. You want those lambs to continue gaining weight in the heat of the summer with minimal exposure to parasites, particularly the nasty barber-pole worm (Haemonchus contortus). Here in Louisiana and other areas of the Gulf South, our pastures consist of Bermuda and Bahia grasses, both of which continue to persist in the heat of the summer but often lose quality in late summer and early fall. Keeping those perennial swards nutritious means keeping them short, and this could expose your lambs to high numbers of parasite larvae. We have experimented with a few warm season annuals to keep lambs and ewes “grazing high.” This article shares what we have learned about planting these forages. My next article outlines how we graze them. Which warm season annuals have we planted? Grasses: Hybrid Pearl Millet and Sorghum-Sudan grass Legumes: Iron Clay Cowpeas and Alyce Clover Prospective Forages: Sunn hemp and other Hybrid Grasses When do we plant them? May through June How do we plant them? Seeding rates and Nitrogen Fertiliz

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One thought on “Growing Warm Season Annuals for Lambs

  1. When I grazed sorghum/Sudan grass with my lambs, I had a hard time keeping up with the explosive growth. It was part of a cover crop mix, I had to graze before other varieties were really ready just do keep ahead of the s/s. Any similar experience or tips?

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