Optigraze is a blend of cool-season grasses and brassicas that have been developed as a season-long grazing cover crop. If planted in the spring, Optigraze can provide grazing throughout the summer and well into the fall season.
The forage oats in the mix provide the first initial flush of growth for the first grazing pass of the season. The other species in the blend will begin to take over once the oats have been grazed off. Winfred Brassica, Hunter Brassica, and Graza Radish are hybrid brassica species that have been developed for forage production. Each of these species will remain vegetative throughout the growing season and their leaves will continue to regrow the following grazing as long as conditions allow. The Italian Ryegrass in the mix is also bred to remain vegetative and provides persistent regrowth under grazing conditions. After the oats have been grazed off and growth of the brassicas slows, the Italian Ryegrass will keep producing until temperatures get too cold for further regrowth.
Overall forage quality of Optigraze is very high in terms of both crude protein and digestibility. Animal performance and average daily gains reflect this rich grazing diet. Optigraze is most productive on fertile soil with adequate moisture. Optigraze is less productive in dry conditions and is usually substituted for a similar mix containing more drought-tolerant species if the moisture outlook is very poor.
This mix meets the NRCS standard cover crop requirements for CSP and EQIP Programs in South Dakota and Minnesota.
Drilled Seeding Rate: 25 lbs/acre
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- Planting Time: Early Spring
- All species in Optigraze can tolerate any light frost that may occur after planting.
- Drilled Seeding Rate: 25 lbs/acre
- Ideal Seeding Depth: 1/4″-1/2″
- Seed can also be broadcasted and rolled or packed to gain seed to soil contact.
- Optigraze requires approximately 30 lbs of N, 11 lbs of P₂O₅, and 35 lbs of K2O per ton of forage produced.
- Apply ¼–½ rate of nitrogen at planting, and the remaining rate when the crop reaches 6″–12″ in height.
- Do not exceed a total of 25 lbs/a of N+K if fertilizer is placed in-furrow.
- Plant into a clean, weed-free seedbed.
- If weeds are present at planting, consider applying glyphosate before or after planting if drilled, but before crop emergence to
control existing weeds. Do not apply glyphosate after planting if crop is broadcasted and not incorporated.
- There are no herbicide options to control weeds after the crop has emerged.
Disclaimer: All products and rates were provided by university-based sources and product labels. Always follow label instructions and consult your local chemical dealer and seed dealer before making any applications or planting of the seed.
- Optigraze is usually ready to graze 55-60 days after emergence when the oats are in the late boot through early heading stages.
- Dividing a field into paddocks and rotating through the field to allow rest for each paddock is one way to best utilize the production possibilities of Optigraze. Rotating between Optigraze and a perennial pasture is another system that has proven very effective.
- If rotationally grazing, remove livestock from a paddock when it is grazed to a minimum average stubble height of 4” and allow about 25 days of regrowth between grazing passes.
- Under continuous grazing, Optigraze will still regrow throughout the season, but production potential will decrease from what could be obtained with rotational grazing.
- There are no nutritional concerns with Optigraze and it is safe to graze at any point during the growing season and through the winter.