Cool Season Annual Forages: To Plant or Not To Plant…Now or Later?

Cattle Grazing Winter Forages


Ideally we would like to plant to soil moisture. Summer pastures should be overseeded in October and early November depending on location. Delaying planting may give us an opportunity to plant to soil moisture depending on rainfall. Delaying planting too late (late November or December) will decrease overall forage production as well as result in a shorter grazing period.


If  we do have adequate moisture this winter be prepared to manage any winter forages planted, especially those overseeded into existing warm season perennial sods (bermudagrass, bahiagrass, etc). Late (April/May) ryegrass or legume forage production can slow down the spring recovery of our warm season perennial grasses. Be prepared to increase stocking rate or harvest excess forage at that time to allow for warm season perennials to break dormancy.


For information on cool season annual forage options as well as planting methods please review the following publications:

Establishing Cool-Season Annual Grasses

Cool-Season Forage Legume Management Guide

Annual Winter Pasture Establishment Management



Vanessa Corriher-Olson, Ph.D.

Forage Extension Specialist

Texas A&M Agrilife Extension

Soil & Crop Sciences Department

Overton, TX


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