Growing Hay  : Farming Ranching Agriculture  -- General Tractor Discussion Forum and Review Growing Hay : Farming Ranching Agriculture -- General Tractor Discussion Forum

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 07-10-2000, 09:38 Post: 17854
SOB



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 Growing Hay

I need some advice. I've got 10ac of pasturland that's been fallow for years. Ive cut it several times in the past year with my brush hog,but I'd like to get a decent crop of hay growing. The soil test came back good so I dont need much lime. Where do I go from here? It's alot of orchard grass and other wild flower type stuff. I dont have to plow it under do I????? MAybe discing? I'm stumped.... SOB






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 07-10-2000, 09:55 Post: 17855
Bird Senter

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 Growing Hay

SOB, maybe someone else can answer your question about growing hay, but it seems to me that you'll have to provide a lot more information. What kind of grass do you have now? What part of the country are you in? How much rain do you get? What are you going to do with the hay? Will it be for cattle, horses, goats, etc.? Some critters will eat things that others won't. In my part of the country (central Texas) there's very little alfalfa grown because we don't get as much rain as it would like. Coastal hay is popular, but you'd need to kill off some weeds and if you don't already have coastal, you'd need to plow, sprig, etc. to get it started, then thereafter fertilize and keep the weeds down. Then there are several varieties of hay that are actually grains that are planted each year, so plowing and planting is done again every spring.






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 07-10-2000, 10:44 Post: 17857
SOB



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 Growing Hay

Bird:
I'm in NJ. I plan to have a few goats or sheep in my fields. There's a little Timothy mixed in with the grass but it's mostly orchard grass. A local guy stopped over and told me that I don't have hay.. I just got really long grass. Now what??






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 07-10-2000, 11:37 Post: 17860
Bird Senter

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SOB, I believe your best bet would be to call your county extension agent (I'm assuming every state has them) and ask what would be best. I'll bet he/she will send you a lot of literature. Of course, goats eat grass and hay, but they're actually "browsers" instead of "grazers", i.e., would rather have leaves, twigs, etc. than grass, so they would probably require supplemental feed (I fed mine too much expensive feed, so they got real fat, and ate so little grass that I had to mow it), and I finally sold all of them. They're great for brush control if you have proper fencing. Sheep, on the other hand, will usually keep the grass grazed (mowed) pretty short, but I've had no experience with raising them and don't know what kind of hay they should have. Without knowing for sure, it sounds to me as if you could just use the pasture for sheep and goats, but if you really want to cut and bale hay, you have to plow and sprig or plant and plan on taking a year or two to get started. I have two neighbors in the hay business, and I've worked for them some the last few years, and they bale a variety of hays and the type of cutter used, as well as baler set up depends to some extent on the coarseness of the stem or stalk of the hay being cut and baled. They have some coastal fields to which they do nothing but fertilize each year with a weed killer mixed with the fertilizer, they have some Johnson Grass to which they do nothing but cut and bale, and they have some big fields that are plowed (big, heavy disks) each year, anhydrous ammonia applied, and then they plant "haygrazer", grain sorghum and hybrid sudan mix, or millet. They also cut and bale a lot of rye grass early in the year for other people. I assume you know that you'd have a tremendous investment in equipment unless you just hire someone to do the cutting and baling. But there are just too many variables (climate, soil, planned use, etc.) for me to be much help to you. Maybe someone in your area who knows more than I will respond.






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 07-10-2000, 20:53 Post: 17863
Frank R Taylor



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 Growing Hay

Bird as usual has it right. Start with your extension agent. They'll flood you with information. What you have to do is decide what kind of grass you want to grow and for what. We have a 40 acre hay pasture in East Texas with improved coastal. We use it for winter fodder for the beef cows. I wasn't around when it was started but I'm told it took quite a few years to establish and a lot of hard work. You have to kill off all the weeds and junk grass, disc and hire someone to come in and sprig. It was let slip for a few years but now I've got it looking good again. I spray for weeds immediately before or immediately after the first fertilizing. We fertilize again after the first cutting but no more weed control. Haying equipment costs waaaaay too much for a small farmer to buy so we hire someone to cut, fluff, bale and stack. He works on a percentage basis, usually 50/50, with an upper limit being set on how many bales he gets. It works pretty well. I don't know if you can justify the expense of preparing 10 acres for hay and you surely can't justify the cost of the equipment. The best thing might be to turn the sheep and goats loose and bush hog what they don't take care of but it is satisfying to lean on the gate of your hay pasture and watch your grass ripple in the wind. It kinda makes it all worthwhile.






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 00-00-0000, 00:00 Post: 17871
lsheaffer



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 Growing Hay

There is nothing wrong with Orchard grass or timothy for sheep & goats. These grasses can be used for hay. The simpliest way to get some legumes(alfalfa or clover) in the stand is to spread it in late winter . The freezing & thawwing will let the seed sink in the ground far enough. When establishing legumes with tillage, the seed doesn't have to be buried. The ground can be rolled & that will give the seed enough soil contact to grow.






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 07-11-2000, 01:16 Post: 17872
Jim Youtz



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 Growing Hay

Bird had the best advice when he mentioned to contact your extension agent. But, I few things I'm familiar with. 1) orchard grass is good grass hay-not the best but not bad either, 2)orchard grass mixed with red clover or alfalfa is very good hay for any animal -horses, cows, sheep, goats. If you wanted to do this with the least effort then first kill off the broadleaf weeds this season with 2-4-D or another selective herbicide. Then this winter or next spring (depending on your climate) overseed with the clover or alfalfa. Don't let anyone tell you that orchard grass is no good. I've been feeding a mix of orchard and red clover to horses for years and a local rancher puts this stuff up for his winter feed for cattle.






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 07-11-2000, 11:09 Post: 17878
Jack D



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 Growing Hay

SOB - I planted 6 acres of Orchard Grass & Timothy mix for horses in MD. The Timothy didn't do much, but the grass is fine, and I've been feeding it for 4 or so years. I rototilled the original after a treatment with Roundup, then planted and fertilized.(After a soil sample analysis) I still fertilize, and overseed each year. As stated above, I would not even think of buying a haybinder, rake and baler (even used) because of the cost. I've had a guy come in and cut, rake and bale (for about what I can buy it for!), but he's now balking at doing it at all. So, I'm either going to return it to grazing pasture, or include it in the farmer's lease with my other acerage. In short, it's a lot of trouble to get it cut, if that's what you intend. Good luck, though, in whatever you do with it.






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Discussion Boards > Active Subjects > Messages as Posted > Farming Ranching Agriculture Forum

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