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Is it safe to feed cattle Foxtail?

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#1 Grateful11


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Posted 24 June 2009 - 10:18 PM

We've got a large field of volunter Foxtail, my wife says she remembers her Dad baling some
years ago for the cows but for some reason she's having second thoughts about baling it
and feeding to our beef cows. I want to either disc it under or cut it and bale it before it starts
dropping its seeds. From what I've read it mainly reproduces from the seed and not the root
system. Some of it is already close to 3' tall and some of it just starting to come out in head.
If we bale it it's going to make quite a bit of hay. It's turning dry here very quickly and I'm
getting a bad feeling about this summer if you know what I mean.

#2 prairie


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Posted 25 June 2009 - 12:06 AM

Most summer annual foxtails can be excellent quality feed if harvested at very early heading or before. In my experience cattle will readily graze it as long as the heads are very green, but as soon as the head color changes from geen, even slightly, they will refuse it. If it is the type of foxtail that sticks to your socks or a dogs ear, it should be cut in the boot stage or earlier.
If you feel that you have enough yield to justify harvesting it, I would suggest cutting when the very first heads appear. A better option may be to mob graze it off, and then plant a crop if you feel conditions are suitable.

#3 nwfarmer


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Posted 26 June 2009 - 08:27 AM

Foxtail! YIPES!!!!!

I have seen foxtail come out of horses right through their necks after eating it. I have seen cows graze it off and I guess it is OK. Foxtail spreads and I would get rid of it.

If you have alfalfa you can spray with Select or Trigger. It will kill grass but not alfalfa. Best to spray in the spring. If you want to clean up the field for a new planting spray with Trigger, 2,4-D, amonium sulphate (mixed in a slurry) and MSO.

#4 nwfarmer


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Posted 26 June 2009 - 08:42 AM

I spray the following around the edges of my fields to clean up everything. This is per acre.

12 ounces Trigger (kills grass, especially foxtail), 3 quarts 2,4-D (kills weeds), 6 pounds of amonium sulphate (mixed in a slurry because it comes in granular form), 1 quart MSO. The amonium sulphate is a fertilizer. The plants will see the amonium sulphate as ice cream and try to consume it. They consume the pesticide along with the amonium sulphate. Burns everything down quick.

#5 mlappin


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Posted 26 June 2009 - 12:57 PM

I've had two fields in the last 6 or 7 years that the foxtail really came on right after the alfalfa got to be three or four inches tall on a new seeding, I mowed those fields when the foxtail was 3-4 feet tall and round baled it. Cows ate it just fine that winter and seemed to do all right, course their only other choice was either picked thru cornstalks or snowflakes.

Edit: I should add that make it as soon as possible, I wanted to, but being a new seeding it was a little wet to be driving on, then we got more rain and well we all know how that works.

Edited by mlappin, 26 June 2009 - 01:00 PM.

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