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Fertilizing Hay Fields (Old Pastures)


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#1 NHTS110

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Posted 07 October 2008 - 01:57 AM

I have been told 2 different lines of reasoning both make sense, but I don't know. Some say feed it in the fall, with our mild winters of late so it can feed all winter and be ready in the spring. Others say feed it in the spring before real growth begins, fall feeding does no good. I will be using granular and most are mixed grass, clovers, lespedeza. There has been nothing put on in at least 25 maybe 30 years. Up until mid 90's some manure was spread in summer but nothing else. I am just west and a hair north of St.Louis area. Thoughts any one ?

#2 BCFENCE

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Posted 07 October 2008 - 03:47 PM

I dont know if this helps but i allways soil test, then put on what it says plus 50 or 100 pounds of nitrate , I cut my pasture for cattle hay then let theme graze it, and yes this all happens in the spring but in the fall ive been told alfalfa is best ferdlized in the fall

Edited by BCFENCE, 07 October 2008 - 03:50 PM.


#3 swmnhay

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Posted 07 October 2008 - 08:31 PM

Depends if you are putting on N for the grass.Do in the spring otherwise it would be gone by spring.If P & K fall is usually best,It's stable.My usual blend for alf/Orch 50-46-60 preferably rite before a rain to take urea down to roots.SOIL TEST!

#4 Production Acres

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Posted 08 October 2008 - 09:00 AM

Find a good soil lab - we use a & l laboratories in Memphis, TN - send soil samples - tell them what kind of production you want to accomplish ie. 2 tons cool season grass hay, 5 tons/acre alfalfa, 6 tons/acre bermuda. They can tell you how much ferterilizer you will need to accomplish this goal based on you soils current fertility. Additionally, all the fertilizer in the world will not work if your ph is wrong. Correct your ph first! Your manures have a long residual effect in a field, maybe 60-70% effect 1st year, 30% next year, and 10% last year. As afore stated, granular nitrogen will only last 60-90 days, so a dec 1 application isn't very smart; however, P and K will last upwards of a year or more, so apply when you can get across the field and when you have the money. In my area, on cool season grass hays, everyone just puts 200-300# 19-19-19 around march 15. This is very costly and ignorant as most of the ground around here is high in P. The 1st application of fertilizer this year based on soil tests for us was 70-30-70. As DAP 18-46-0 is mostly made in Russia and China now, this saved us over $100/ton of fertilizer this year.

#5 CantonHayGuy

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Posted 12 October 2008 - 07:39 AM

Our local Co-Op told me that if I wanted to just put down nitrogen, Fall would be ideal and that most around here like to do the N-P-K in the Spring. I opted to do the N-P-K this past Spring (late April) and from my experience, I more than doubled my first cutting.

#6 swmnhay

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Posted 13 October 2008 - 07:04 AM

CHG, I disagree with putting on N in fall,you will loose some by next spring from volitalzation and leaching.And hopefully the price is less next spring.The P & K are more stable and are better fall applied to build root reserves in alfalfa.What are you fertilizing ? alfalfa,alf/grass or grass.If alfalfa no need for N.If alfalfa I would fall fertilize.If grass I would spring fertilize.This yr may be I will hold off fertilizing my alfalfa until early spring hopeing the price goes down.I may cut back this fall and spread more after 1st cutting.

#7 CantonHayGuy

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Posted 13 October 2008 - 07:21 AM

CHG, I disagree with putting on N in fall,you will loose some by next spring from volitalzation and leaching.And hopefully the price is less next spring.The P & K are more stable and are better fall applied to build root reserves in alfalfa.What are you fertilizing ? alfalfa,alf/grass or grass.If alfalfa no need for N.If alfalfa I would fall fertilize.If grass I would spring fertilize.This yr may be I will hold off fertilizing my alfalfa until early spring hopeing the price goes down.I may cut back this fall and spread more after 1st cutting.


I've just got a horse pasture mix hay. Is it necessary to fertilize every year? I think I skipped doing anything last year.

#8 swmnhay

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Posted 13 October 2008 - 08:21 AM

I've just got a horse pasture mix hay. Is it necessary to fertilize every year? I think I skipped doing anything last year.

To get the most yield you need to fertilize every yr.The N doesn't carry over from yr to yr.Get a soil test to see what you need for P & K.Fert price has sky rocketed so you should find out what you need.Grass needs N to get a good crop.What is cost effective???Cost per acre divided by yld gain.N will raise the protien level in hay also.To get the most bang for the buck on grass hay fert in spring.

#9 CantonHayGuy

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Posted 13 October 2008 - 09:06 AM

No kiddin' fertilizer prices have skyrocketed! My first year after planting the field, I paid the Co-Op $9.00 an acre; it's more than tripled.

#10 swmnhay

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Posted 13 October 2008 - 09:37 AM

Last I checked 9-23-30 for alfalfa was around $900 a ton.200# an acre would be $90 per acre.What mix are you useing?

#11 Rodney R

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Posted 13 October 2008 - 09:00 PM

On grass hay we'll apply N in spring, and normally trow in some 2,4-D for good measure, and then add P&K after 1st cutting, on alfalfa it's just P&K after 1st cutting. If you have clover in your mixture that's fixing nitrogen for you, you may not need any additional N, but there's a good chance that you may not be getting enough N for a full crop.

A fall aplication of N is a waste of money - most will be gone in just a few weeks. You need to apply N just before things get green in spring. P&K are more residual, and will hang around for a while, and sorta have a time-release element to them - they don't work immediately like N does. BUT none of them will work if you have a poor pH for what you're trying to grow..... 6-6.5 is what you're shooting for..... I heard a guy once say if you've got $1 to spend on either lime or fertilizer, you should always choose the lime..... Of course, that's here.

Rodney

#12 NHTS110

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Posted 14 October 2008 - 11:02 PM

Rodney R, why and how are you applying 2 4-d with your fertilizer ?

#13 Rodney R

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Posted 16 October 2008 - 05:41 PM

The N all goes on as a liquid in spring. The 2,4-D is for any broadleaves that might be out there, and we're making a trip anyway. So, it goes out in a sprayer, right along with the N..... Even if it doesn't kill the broadleaves, it might make them sick enough to not be a threat to the 1st cutting..... All P&K goes out dryafter 1st cutting.

Rodney




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