Can I plant milo or corn using a no-till drill after timothy grass has run its course in late May?
Answer: The principle concern with no-tilling corn or milo into timothy is going to be plant competition. Certainly, the timothy, being a cool-season perennial grass, will begin to slow down as temperatures reach the 80s. However, stored carbohydrates in the root crown will ensure that it will begin to tiller again once the temperature and water availability reach appropriate levels. Without killing the timothy, it will be difficult to get a good stand of milo or corn, but it can be done.The best thing to do is to try to “use up” the root reserves of the timothy prior to drilling. This can be done by grazing hard in the fall and again after the spring flush, which can weaken the timothy and reduce its ability to compete with planted crops in the summer. The next concern will be seed placement of the milo or corn. Using a no-till drill will certainly take care of this. Plant to a depth of about 1.5 inches and increase your seeding rate, as planting into sod comes with some potential problems, such as grubs or wireworms. A good resource to learn more is an article titled “Seeding Cover Crops into Perennial Sod”, written by Gabe Brown, who grazes cattle on perennial pastures and no-tilled cover crops in North Dakota. In addition, you can find information on a host of topics related to pasture management on the Livestock and Pasture section of the ATTRA website.