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tilling fescue pastures

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kcirstein
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 8 Kansas
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2006-12-01          137499


I am starting a prairie restoration on about 10 acres of fescue pasture. My plan is to burn the fescue in a couple of weeks and then till. I'll probably till again in April and plant the warm season prairie grass around May 1st. Will a roto tiller turn under the fescue root structure without discing first . . . or should I assume that I need to make a pass across the pasture first with a disc? . . . and then till? I have a Ford 4610 (52hp pto) so can run a fairly heavy and large tiller.

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tilling fescue pastures

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hardwood
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 3583 iowa
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2006-12-02          137507


10 acres is a lot to roto till. I'm not familiar with how heavy of a root system that fescue has but roto tillers don't work very good in heavy roots, they wrap and plug real fast. Rather than till or disc a moldboard plow would be best this fall unless erosion is a concern. Frank. ....

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tilling fescue pastures

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greg_g
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 1816 Western Kentucky
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2006-12-02          137508


Yeah, you'd be at it forever with a tiller. I think I'd tackle it with a heavyweight wheel type disc harrow.

//greg// ....

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tilling fescue pastures

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Chief
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 4285 Southwest MiddleTennessee
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2006-12-02          137510


I think I would spray it with glyphosphate, take soil samples, after all the sod has deadened, turn the soil under with a 2 or 3 bottom plow,disk in a good seed bed, add lime and fertilizer, and seed as required, disk again to work the lime, fertilizer, and seed into the soil.

Are you entering this acreage into CRP upland game bird practice? ....

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tilling fescue pastures

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kcirstein
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 8 Kansas
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2006-12-02          137511


No to the CPR question . . .

Also, my wife and I are adament about not using Roundup or similar . . . There is an increasing awareness in the scientific community that the surfactant in Roundup is harmful ecologically. I know it has been considered a completely harmless herbacide, but I think that is changing. We won't use chemicals on our land.

Rick ....

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tilling fescue pastures

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greg_g
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 1816 Western Kentucky
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2006-12-02          137512


No chemicals.....hmmmmmm. That sorta limits your selection of lime and fertilizers too, doesn't it? By that I mean, a strict "no chemicals" policy takes all inorganic fertilizers and pelletized ag lime off the list.

So that makes me curious. What is your position on chopping up approximately 150,000 earthworms per acre?

//greg// ....

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Chief
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 4285 Southwest MiddleTennessee
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2006-12-02          137513


Just trying to offer a little help. If the surfactant bothers you, don't use Round Up Ultra. Standard formulas Round Up has no surfactant in it that I am aware of. The glyphosphate is a lot cheaper. If you ever have to deal with noxious weeds such as Johnson Grass or Cudzu, you may want to reconsider not using any chemicals. ....

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tilling fescue pastures

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yooperpete
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 1413 Northern Michigan
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2006-12-04          137544


If you don't like chemicals, I go with Hardwood's suggestion of using a moldboard plow in the Fall. You should be able to pull a 3 bottom plow [3x14" or 3 x 16"]. Normally you would plow about 6-8" deep. Clay soils pull harder.

Some of the Fescue will come back in the Spring. Suggest disking in the spring to rough level and kill some of the fescue as it comes up(reimerges). Some type of harrow (spring tooth drag or similar tool) a week or so later to finish level the ground. You can then broadcast spread the seed. Some fescue will return along with weeds! That's one of the laws of nature.

P.S. If you don't have a moldboard plow, you should be able to purchase a used one (50's-60's vintage) for about $250.00 to $400.00.

Best of Luck! ....

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kcirstein
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 8 Kansas
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2006-12-04          137548


Thanks for all the input guys. I think I'll start with discing . . .

Rick ....

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AnnBrush
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 462 Troy OH
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2006-12-04          137549


I see your location as Kansas, is your "restoration" area naturally disposed to prairie - if not you will be battling forever as prairie is not the climax specie mix the region equilibrates to.

A local gun club here has a "prairie restoration project" which they proudly erected a sign in front of. The project is laughable as everyone here (SW Ohio) knows that if left untouched the entire area reverts back to dense woodland and bushy thickets - NO chance of prairie in Ohio. ....

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kcirstein
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 8 Kansas
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2006-12-04          137552


Our area was originally prairie . . . the trees are the imports. ....

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kthompson
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 5223 South Carolina
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2006-12-04          137556


Chief,
"Cudzu" Do you have it there? Am I correct, was it not imported by our Fed. Gov.? You think Johnson Grass is a weed (here too) but in some areas top pasture gress. Guess one man's weeds is another man's crop.

....

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Chief
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 4285 Southwest MiddleTennessee
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2006-12-04          137560


Yes, I believe cudzu was imported for use as soil stabilizing vegetation which it does VERY well but it dominates everything around it and it very difficult to get rid of. Johnson grass actually makes for good hay forage provided you bale or feed it BEFORE the grass blades show the red and purple patches of color but it too will eventually dominate and force out any other vegetation. Johnson grass was also imported as a livestock feed grass but as it turns out was not such a good idea on the long run. ....

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Chief
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 4285 Southwest MiddleTennessee
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2006-12-04          137561


The push lately for re-establishment of native warm and cool season grasses as well as other native vegetation covers is to help re-establish populations of native upland game birds such as quail. The FSA combined with the NRCS offer cost share and other programs that pay you for this conseration practice. They will also provide cost share assistance on other things such as fencing, ponds, etc. ....

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wr5evk8jj
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 61 Haymarket, VA
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2006-12-04          137562


This thread has my curiousity up some. What is the "rule of thumb" or other metric dictating what tractor will pull a 1-bottom, 2-bottom, or n-bottom plow? There must be some type of horsepower-to-plow correlation. I can remember my father plowing and discing with a Farmall M (I think that is what I remember), but can not remember how large either was. That was in NE Illinois when I was but a "wee lad." ....

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tilling fescue pastures

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yooperpete
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 1413 Northern Michigan
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2006-12-04          137568


I believe the Farmall M had about 35 HP. When I grew up we had replaced the M with a 400. I believe the 400 had either 40 or 45HP from the factory. My dad had some engine work done on it putting in some kind of "crater" pistons that boosted power to nearly 50HP. I was about 7 years old when he got it. We were able to pull a 3 bottom plow that were 16" moldboards. Back in those days plows generally come in 12", 14" & 16".

The 12" were for single on double bottom versions for real small tractors. Gearing, tractor weight and tires make a big difference.

As an example my 27HP compact with hydro, turfs and 4x4 has its hands full with 1x14" in the clay soil we have here. ....

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hardwood
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 3583 iowa
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2006-12-04          137570


Yoper; The original "M" Farmalls were rated at about 39 PTO horsepower With a 3-7/8 th. bore, the Super M's and the 400's were rated at 51 with a 4 in. bore. " Fire Crater" pistons were a popular thing, the increased the bore to 4-1/8 and raised the compression ratio a bit. The 400 my Dad had ran about 58 horse on the dino with "Fire Craters'. Frank. ....

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kthompson
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 5223 South Carolina
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2006-12-05          137588


Chief, it was easy to tell this year the guy raising hay on family land was not going to cut it when the Johnson grass grew to about 5 feet high. It took over most of the coastal bermuda in about 2 months.

Pulling plows, have not used moldboards with my Kubota M6800 but based upon it's manual it sure seems like they rate it very low. (I think 2, 16 inch) I do know that tractor will pull with my brothers Massey which is larger and about 9 or 10 hp more. The soil type, depth, speed and how clean the land is all impact this.

My father in laws Ford 601 pulled two 14 inch moldboards very well. A 43 hp Case would pull the same at depth deepter that the tractor would clear.


KC, if you go looking for used moldboards try to find them with good parts. You can spend more to replace worn parts than you paid for the plows. Moldboards would do a better job of getting rid of the current plants I think than you will find with the disc as they will turn the crop under better. At least my experience. ....

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brokenarrow
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 1288 Wisconsin
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2006-12-18          138166


My TC40 pulls a 2 bottom 16 with absolutely no burbs in my heavy clay type soil. Can till right down to the bottom depths. I feel very confident it could handle a 3 bottom with no problem. The 4wd IMO makes the difference in adding 1 to 1 1/2 more bottoms. ....

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kcirstein
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 8 Kansas
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2006-12-28          138389


An update . . . I started this thread with the original question.

AFter talking to farmers in the area who are clearly more experienced than me (especially since I'm completely inexperienced), I decided to plow first to turn the fescue over, then disc. I've plowed the field and made one pass with the disc . . . Will try to disc several more times when it's dry enough this winter. Probably in April, when the cool season grasses and weeds start to grow, I'll either disc again or roto till at that time. I'm aiming for May 1st to plant the warm season grasses. ....

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pitt_md
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 32 Pine Island, MN USA
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2007-10-09          146699


was looking into getting a tiller for use on around 12 acres that I wanted to plant with CRP type grasses and food plot for pheasants. I found it was a lot cheaper to pay my neighbor with big time equipment a few bucks to plow it up for me. Here in Minnesota the elm will cover a field in 4 - 5 years with 5' high trees. ....

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candoarms
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 1932 North Dakota
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2007-10-09          146703


Pitt md,

Here in North Dakota, the fastest way to restore a piece of land to prairie grass is to burn it off and let the Spring rains do the rest of the work. Beautiful green grass like you've never seen before, in just a couple of weeks.

If weeds seem to be a problem, just mow the grass for the first couple of years. The grass eventually fills in so tight that the weeds no longer have a place to take root.

Now what that's word you used......tree? What's that? hehehe.

Joel ....

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