Buy seed early to beat expected shortages; Arkansas’ cattle producers are being urged to buy early after last year’s drought caused a shortfall of seed for summer forages, according to information from the Cooperative Extension Service of the University of Arkansas, Division of Agriculture.

Forages such as sorghum, sudangrass, millet and crabgrass were hard hit by the drought, John Jennings, UA professor and forage specialist, said in a press release.

With planting time for warm-season grasses fast approaching, producers should purchase seed soon, Jennings said.

"Much of the sorghum, millet, and crabgrass seed is produced in Kansas, Oklahoma, and parts of the southwest where drought has been severe the past two years. This has caused low seed production of those forages," Jennings said.

"Producers intending to use these forages should purchase seed early before supplies are gone," Jennings said. "Red River crabgrass seed is already sold out for the year. Sorghum and millet supply of certain varieties is somewhat better than last year, but as current inventory is sold, price will increase for any remaining supplies."

Crabgrass should be planted in April to mid-May at a rate of 3-5 pounds per acre.

"Higher rates produce quicker sod cover and shallow planting is best," Jennings said. "Time from emergence – not day of planting – to first grazing of properly planted stands is about 40 days," he said.

Millet and sorghum/sudangrass should be planted when soil temperatures reach 65 degrees Fahrenheit, usually early to mid-May. Planting can extend into early June if there is enough soil moisture, the press release noted.

Seeding rate is 25 pounds per acre.

For more information about cattle production, contact your county extension office, or visit www.arkansas-livestock.com or www.uaex.edu.