I'm researching using a sudan grass mix cover crop to help build soil. From what I have read it can produce 5+ tons of hay per acre with 2-3 cuttings after planting in the mid-late June timeframe. Planting at a heavy rate will crowd out most weeds, and natural compounds from the roots will further inhibit weed growth. Has anyone done this/tried this. Supposedly the root mass will also penetrate 16+" breaking up subsoil and adding organic matter to the soil at the same time. This seems to good to be true! Any experiences or suggestions on similar methods are appreciated.
I am thinking to burn the field in spring, and cut hay around June 1 (next year) then seed a mix of sudan grass and summer pea or soybean to help fix nitrogen. I would cut hay off the sudan grass 1-2X depending on growth and rainfall then leave it long for winter grazing.
I think this has good potential and could really work out well for hay and forage alike. Something important to consider when stockpiling (leaving fall growth uncut and standing for winter grazing) certain forages is a brief and deadly window after frost that sudan grass must not be grazed. Frosted sudan grass releases compounds that rapidly degrade into prussic acid or cyanide, and can kill livestock. Frosted sudan grass is safe for livestock to graze after allowing 5-7 days to pass following a frost. There are a few other forages that release prussic acid upon frosting, johnson grass is another one I recall.