UACES Facebook 2018 Forage Planning Drought Calendar
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2018 Forage Planning Drought Calendar


This calendar lists forage options that can help make up for the impact of the current drought. These options are based on our forage research and farm demonstrations over many years. Make weed and insect pest control part of any of these options during July, August, and September to protect the valuable growing forage.


What to do

What to expect


Rotationally graze existing pasture


Rotational grazing extends grazing on remaining forage.

If no forage remains to graze, put livestock in sacrifice pasture to feed hay and or commodity feeds.

A sacrifice pasture protects remaining forage so it will recover faster when the drought breaks.

Fertilize bermuda/bahia/crabgrass   for summer pasture or hay cutting if rain forecast is good.


Fertilization can promote a warm-season grass grazing or hay crop if some rain occurs.   Unfertilized, stressed forage produces slow growth even with rain. Don’t   fertilize fescue in summer – wait until September 1.

Hay supply is short so make sure hay supply is covered or in barn to reduce weather losses.

Weathering losses of uncovered hay can be 20-25%. The hay crop is already reduced 50% in most areas this year.


Fertilize bermuda or bahia in early to mid-August for stockpiled forage.


It doesn’t take that much rain for stockpiled forage to produce good forage. This one is definitely worth taking a chance on. Stockpiled bermuda will be ready to graze in October. Stockpiled bermuda can produce 3,000 to over 5,000 lbs dry matter/acre for fall grazing.

Plant pearl millet, sorghum/sudan, or even corn in mid to late August for fall forage.

Our 2017 research showed that summer annuals can produce over 3,600 lbs dry matter/acre for grazing by mid-October.

Plant spring oat or winter oat in late August to the first week of September.

Our research the past 3 years showed that oats planted in late August can produce 2,000 to 3,600 lbs dry matter/acre by mid-November.


Fertilize fescue first week of September for stockpiled pasture.


It doesn’t take that much rain for stockpiled forage to produce good forage. This one also is definitely worth taking a chance on. Stockpiled fescue can produce 2,000 to 3,000 lbs dry matter/acre by late November and can be grazed from late November through February depending on acreage.

Plant wheat, rye, ryegrass, or brassicas before September 15.

Early September planted winter annuals can provide grazing by late-October to December. Yield of brassicas  planted late August to first of September can range from 2,500 to over 5,000 lbs/acre.  Do not plant brassicas after  September 15.


Plant wheat, rye, ryegrass.


October-planted winter annuals can provide grazing by February through spring. These forages can be   limit-grazed 2-3 days per week in late winter to stretch hay until spring greenup.

Strip-graze stockpiled bermuda/bahia.


Stockpiled bermuda/bahia can provide good grazing till late December. Strip grazing doubles the grazing days.

Strip graze August-planted corn, millet, sudan.

Corn, millet, sudan will winter kill, but strip grazing will allow livestock to clean it up like standing hay and will extend the grazing period. Use caution when grazing   sorghum/sudan at frost-time due to prussic acid risk.

Test hay supply for quality.

The hay supply is short so many producers will purchase extra feed. Test the quality of hay on hand for   efficient use of the purchased feed.


Strip graze August-planted oats.

Early planted oats will be mature enough to winter-kill. Strip grazing will reduce waste and extend the grazing period.

Strip graze stockpiled bermuda/bahia.


Strip graze summer annuals.


Begin grazing stockpiled fescue in late November.

Waiting until late November allows 90%+ of fescue growth to occur before grazing.


Last date to plant wheat, rye, ryegrass.

November-planted winter annuals will not produce forage until spring, but can help extend spring grazing if these forages were not planted earlier in fall.


Plan to finish grazing stockpiled bermuda/bahia by late December unless supplementation is planned.

Chances of freezing precipitation increase by late December and greatly degrades quality of stockpiled warm-season forages.

Strip graze stockpiled fescue, winter annuals, and brassicas.


Start planning winter annual weed control.

Most winter annual weeds like buttercup, little barley, and six weeks fescue are already emerged in December and can be easily controlled with proper herbicide application anytime from December to late February.


Continue grazing available forage.



Start limit grazing October-planted winter annuals if 6” tall.

Grazing 2 days per week supplements hay supply quality and quantity.

Fertilize some winter annual and fescue pastures in February to boost grazing in March.

Early fertilization of some pastures can increase March forage production and help end winter hay feeding. Unfertilized fescue and winter annuals, especially ryegrass, may not produce much forage until April.

Scout fields for winter annual weeds.

Winter annual weeds can greatly reduce spring forage growth. Controlling weeds in February gives a second chance in March. Waiting until March for winter weed control often fails due to poor field and weather conditions for spraying.


Begin rotational grazing at greenup to set the grazing schedule early.

An early start to the grazing plan sets the schedule and gives more control of which forages can be  grazed for spring or cut for hay.


Hopefully good weather has returned and fields are full of green grass.





























































By Mark Keaton
County Extension Agent - Staff Chair
The Cooperative Extension Service
U of A System Division of Agriculture

Media Contact: Mark Keaton
County Extension Agent - Staff Chair
U of A Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service
3 East 9th St. Mountain Home AR 72653
(870) 425-2335


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