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Georgia Hay Growers?


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#1 Marshall

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Posted 02 August 2010 - 09:44 PM

Have any of you Ga hay growers tried any alfalfa? I watched the GA Farm Monitor last night and they were talking about Bulldog 505 alfalfa that was developed from UGA. Looking at the info on the web, it says "should be planted and grown north of Macon. Further searching discovered there is an exibit at the EXPO in Moultrie, which is about 130 miles south of Macon.

I am interested in planting this to see how it fares and if I can get some of my horse folks around here sold on some.

Any experiences from local GA folks???????????

I will also be happy to listen to the northern climate folks in here too.

Thanks,

Marshall

#2 saltwater

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Posted 02 August 2010 - 11:24 PM

Marshall,

Just curious did they say why north of Macon? Is it heat tolerance or soil types or something else? I am in Texas.

#3 Marshall

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Posted 03 August 2010 - 11:10 AM

It didn't say. I would guess heat. That being said, Moultrie is 130 miles south of Macon and there is some planted at the field at the EXPO that will be shown in October. I'm gonna try a small patch and see what it does.

Marshall

#4 saltwater

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Posted 04 August 2010 - 01:31 PM

Does not quite sound quite right. If you are going to experiment I would try more than one variety. There are plenty of semi-dormant to non dormant varieties that still have pretty good winter hardiness. I planted a WL535 late last fall and may have had the coldest wettest winter in years. Snow like ten times. Enough that I was concerned. Alfalfa stayed green and never went dormant with no winter kill.

#5 David in Georgia

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Posted 04 August 2010 - 05:52 PM

I'm in northwest Georgia just south of Chattanooga, and haven't heard of anyone up this way who messes with alfalfa. Everybody up this way deals with fescue mix's and Bermuda.

#6 hay wilson in TX

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Posted 05 August 2010 - 07:34 PM

Just back into alfalfa slowly. Plant maybe 10 acres to alfalfa, and work with that for a year or two. I would suggest any variety that has a 7, 6, or 5 fall dormancy rating. Mainly look at the pest resistance of any variety you choose, initially. The truth is you can really do well with a FD 4, or even a 3. with little yield penalty. I have planted a FD 2 here in Central Texas, 31° N 97°20' W.

A number of states put out excellent how to booklets on alfalfa. They will get you in the park, but you will have to catch the ball yourself.

Horse owners as hay customers.
They are a real problem.
Unless they have horses in training for the track, or rodeo alfalfa has way more energy than a horse can use. A horse has to eat 18 hours a day or be on the move. If they are just standing around looking for something to put in their mouth they will eat the board off the barn.
Feeding alfalfa for feeding to a wet mare I approve of. If used with intelligence.

I try to sell 12% CP coastal bermudagrass to horse owners. It is difficult to convince a horse owner they have more animals than they have grazing. Ideally the horse owners should graze their animals.

I will say this. IF you can put up high quality bermudagrass hay, keeping all the leaves, then you can put up good alfalfa.
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#7 hmcohay

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Posted 05 August 2010 - 09:21 PM

Haywilson do mind telling where in Central Texas your located? I am located in the Stephenville/Hamilton area and would love to be able grow alfalfa. Stephenville is the "Cowboy Capital" and loaded with horse people, as well as, many dairies that spend an awful lot of time and money trucking alfalfa in from NM and OK. I have always been told you can't grow it Texas pretty much anywhere. However, I keep hearing guys like yourself say your growing it. I am completely ignorant on alfalfa and don't have the frogiest on where to start, but that stuff is like gold here and I sure would like to give it a shot. Do have any suggestions on where I could obtain information on varieties that may grow in this area?

#8 cestes1abac

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Posted 30 October 2010 - 07:35 PM

Are you sure the alfalfa at the expo was not Bulldog 805 cultivar. I don't know if you have looked at this web page from UGA but it shows that 805 and 505 is ok for South Georgia.

Edited by cestes1abac, 30 October 2010 - 07:42 PM.


#9 hay wilson in TX

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Posted 31 October 2010 - 08:19 AM

You can check with the people at the Experiment Station at Stephenville. The last I heard they had a lot of problems with cotton root rot.
If you have creek bottom land that might work.
If you can put up quality bermudagrass, alfalfa will be a snap.

I am just south of Temple Texas, in the Little River Bottom.

I have found that the small Dairy Goat person is close to ideal. They are usually a little different and all that but not as difficult as the horse owning general public.

#10 vhaby

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Posted 01 November 2010 - 10:34 AM

Marshall, David, cestes1abac, and other potential alfalfa hay growers on Coastal Plain soils and other acid soils,

You all have available one of the latest and most well written publications on "Alfalfa Management in Georgia". Perhaps you already are familiar with it. Dr. Dennis Hancock, Extension Forage Agronomist at UGA headed up writing this publication with co-authors from various alfalfa related disciplines at UGA. I was asked to review this writing before publication and these specialists did an excellent job. You can download a copy from:

http://www.caes.uga.... in Georgia.pdf

My previous research on soils for alfalfa production on the Coastal Plain of East Texas is dealt with briefly in this publication. Before you make the final decision to plant alfalfa on your soils in Georgia, be certain that you select a soil that is well-drained and aerated, and have a current surface soil test for the usual pH, P, K, Ca, Mg, S, salinity, etc., and ask the lab to also test for boron in the surface depth. Soil pH in the surface depth needs to be 6.8 to 7.0 or above. Liming acid soils to raise pH ties up plant available boron. Additionally, collect soil samples from at least five locations in your fields by one foot depths to four feet deep, keeping each one-foot depth separate- four plastic buckets needed. Thoroughly mix the subsamples in each bucket, place about a good handful of mixed soil into a sample bag, and send these to the lab for pH determination. The pH of these depth samples needs to be 5.5 or higher for alfalfa. If pH is below 5.5, soil aluminum can become toxic to alfalfa root growth. Aluminum won't kill alfalfa, but it will severely limit water uptake from the soil profile, thereby limiting yield, during periods when the surface soil dries out.

To see data on the above from Coastal Plain soils and the NRCS soil discriptions, go to the following web site and click on Soil and Crops, then on Selecting Coastal Plain Soils for Alfalfa. Look carefully at the 3-yr average dry matter yields (one severe drought year included) relative to the depth of exchangeable aluminum in these eight soils.

Home

Growing alfalfa requires a producer who has some "farmer" in him/her, not just producers who consider themselves cattle ranchers and grow bermudagrass, Bahiagrass, or fescue just because their cattle need something to eat. By the way, before you start to look for stones to throw my way for this comment, I am now retired from soils/agronomy research and operating our own forage/cattle ranch on Coastal Plain soils in NE Texas. My wife and I soil sampled this place as described above before purchasing it, and found that samples by one foot depths to four feet all were well above pH 5.5. Also, according to NRCS soil descriptions, there are some ideal soils for alfalfa here and alfalfa is an intended forage for our place soon. See also:

http://websoilsurvey...s.usda.gov/app/

This site can assist you in determining if your soils have any of the descriptors for excessive wetness the will prohibit alfalfa from surviving. The wetness descriptors are indicated in the "Selecting Coastal Plain Soils for Alfalfa" from the "Home" web site above.

Edited by vhaby, 01 November 2010 - 10:47 AM.

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#11 cestes1abac

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Posted 02 November 2010 - 08:10 PM

Yea thanks , i live in Tifton and go to college in Tifton where a lot of that research is done. I'm not really a grower yet, maybe after i graduate and get my own land and such, and equipment id like to be a grower. I believe south Georgia needs some more alfalfa growers because there are a lot of horse owners that need it and do not want to have to ship it from up north. I am on here just to network and i am trying to start a little hay business up but its taking time. Right now i wont have a job in the winter because where i work does not need that many student workers. So I am going to try out the hay business. But thanks for that VHABY.

#12 hay wilson in TX

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Posted 03 November 2010 - 11:47 AM

It is my contention that, if you can harvest bermudagrass successfully alfalfa will be a pleasure.
Bermudagrass, from my observation, is more susceptible to leaf shatter than alfalfa. Before, during and after baling.

I try not to sell alfalfa to horse owners. The exception being owners with horses in training for the race track and wet mares. To make alfalfa work for the casual horse, they must limit feed alfalfa and give free choice low quality grass hay. Why not feed quality grass hay to start with?

The key to harvesting any hay is to watch the relative humidity down next to the hay, not up at eye level.
Rake when the humidity is above 90%. Bale when the humidity is between 65% & 55%.
There are management steps you can use to bale below 50% RH. My favorite is to rake half the windrows that morning when there is a surface dew on the windrow. You fold surface moisture into the windrow keeping the humidity inside the windrow high enough to retard leaf shatter.

My favorite alfalfa buying customers have dairy goats, milking. The older Standard Dairy Quality alfalfa, 20-30-40, hay will be in the 150 RFV range and will produce milk. If you have some who are serious dairy types then work for a 180 RFV.

I do not envy your hay weather. You have two oceans to provide Sea Breeze Fronts for an after noon rain just as you are trying to cure hay.

To my thinking the good hay that will consistently be the best quality are the Western Hay Growers of New Mexico, Western Oklahoma, Kansas & Nebraska. Those people supply the water, are able to bale at night, and have the best testing hay. All with good eye appeal.
If you want some experience, try to work for Tom Creech, hay dealer near Lexington KY.

#13 hay wilson in TX

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Posted 11 February 2011 - 09:49 PM

Finally got around to studying the Alfalfa Management in Georgia. A really excellent bit of work. Excellent introduction into growing alfalfa.

I did a search on the two Bulldog Alfalfa varieties. I really can not find anything to recommend them.
I did not find them in any yield trials in Georgia or elsewhere. No mention as to their resistance to specific pest.
They may be the best this side of Persia but so far I have not found anything to recommend them.




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