Legumes, Sorghum, & Grasses

Summer grasses and legumes can provide good forage during the warmer months of the year. The feed value of the grasses varies considerably with the millet and sorghums tending to be lower in energy and digestibility compared to teff. Cowpeas and lablab are fast growing, annual, summer forage legumes. They are excellent quality crops for fattening livestock, and are also regarded as good feed for milking cows. Traditionally, these crops have been grown in Queensland and the northern half of NSW, where summer rainfall is more predominant. Their suitability to the more southern areas like Victoria is limited.

Summer Legumes

Freyr Sunn Hemp

Easy Sow, Easy Grow

Competitive Canopy

Nitrogen Fix

Fast Growth

Highly valued soil health species, Freyr fixed nitrogen and is a high protein forage option.

A tropical legume adapted to a wide range of soil and environmental conditions with very quick growth in favourable conditions. Originating in India, recent popular use around the world has expanded rapidly and Sunn Hemp is widely used in Cover cropping, grazing and forage production. Crops can be grazed through to flowering and when planted into warm soils with good moisture, biomass production can be very fast. Access to quality sowing seed has traditionally been an issue for Sunn Hemp adoption in Australia but seed is now readily available.

Sowing Rate: 10-20kg/Ha





Soybean is an annual Summer growing legume that can be a useful forage and hay crop, particularly in high rainfall and coastal districts. Grain varieties can be used for hay production but later maturing types are preferred for grazing. The best quality hay is made from soybean crops when pods are half filled. In all production areas, crops intended for grain are sometimes cut for hay after poor pod set, or when the relative return for hay is higher than expected returns from grain i.e. drought.


Sandy Soils

Green Manure

A summer growing legume, cowpeas are more suitable to sandy soils than Lablab, they flower earlier but do not recover as well after grazing.

Sowing Rate: 20kg/ha



Heavy Soils

Lablab’s performance on heavy soils is greatly superior to that of cowpeas; both require well-drained soils, although lablab has better resistance to phytophthora root rot. Lablab is more tolerant than cowpeas to trampling and recovers quicker after grazing.

Sowing Rate: 30kg/ha

Forage Sorghum

Forage sorghum is the most productive and fast growing forages. It can produce large volumes of feed relatively quickly. As a general guide, it can be sown when the threat of frost has gone and soil temperatures have reached at least 16°C. Graze carefully, once the crop is well established, 80 cm high and unstressed. If the crop is stressed, there is a risk of Prussic acid and/or nitrate poisoning. Check more specific information on each available variety

Swift Hybrid Forage Sorghum



16 Degrees + Soil Temp

Swift is a fast growing, fine stemmed sorghum x sudangrass hybrid with excellent palatability. Swift provides a high quality product that can be used for grazing, hay and silage. Swift has an excellent leaf to stem ratio and is quick to regrow, making it suitable for multiple cuttings at the highest 

Chop-Chop Sweet Sorghum



16 Degrees + Soil Temp

Chop-Chop is a sweet sorghum x sweet sorghum variety that has high yield and sugar levels. Chop=Chop makes excellent silage and isa grazing option. it has been proven to be highly palatable due to its large leaf and juicy sweet stalks which also increases its energy value.


Summer Forage Grasses


18 Degrees + Soil Temp

Single Graze


Teff is a self-pollinated, annual grass and can be harvested or grazed multiple times during the growing season. As a fast-growing crop, Teff combines excellent forage quality with high yield during a relatively short growing season. It is best sown when soil temperatures have reached 18°C. Due to its extremely small seed size, seed placement at sowing is critical. The best seed bed for Teff is obtained by working the soil, rolling then dropping the seed on top and rolling again. Sowing depths of 10mm or greater can result in complete failure. 

Sowing Rate:  5-7kg/ha


Shirohie Millet

14 Degrees + Soil Temp

Multiple Grazing


Shirohie Millet has less dry matter production than forage sorghum. It can be more difficult to establish than the larger seeded sorghums. Shirohie can be grazed 5 to 7 weeks after sowing but does not stand harsh grazing. There is no prussic acid poisoning risk associated with Shirohie. It can run rapidly to head in hotter weather so grazing management is important, it is also frost sensitive.

Sowing Rate: Dryland or in mixed 10-15kg/ha, Irrigation 20kg/ha

Grazing Maize

12 Degrees + Soil Temp

Single Graze


Grazing maize is a single graze, quality feed option. It does not contain prussic acid. It is not affected by diamond back moth and white butterfly. It also tolerates lower soil temperatures at sowing than Sorghum and millet.