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When to plant hay


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#1 Goatman

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Posted 29 March 2011 - 05:40 PM

I am planning on planting a alfalfa orchard grass mix with oats as a cover crop. I live in east central Iowa. What is the earliest and latest I can plant my new seeding? I have to do some discing first so I will have to wait tell it is dry enought to do field work.

#2 barnrope

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Posted 29 March 2011 - 09:32 PM

I do that same program. You always want to get out there just as early as you can. Last year I was seeding by March 26. On average seeding time is mid April here along the MN / IA border. Early is good. If it snows on it, thats great!

#3 Josh in WNY

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Posted 30 March 2011 - 12:07 PM

Here in western New York state, I do a fall planting for my hay. I will fit the field at the begining of August and have the field seeded down by mid-August. This gives the seeding enough time to germinate and get established (about 2-3 inches tall). By then, the first frost will come through and shut everything down. The next year, the field is ready to go.

The benifits that I have found for this method is that it allows you to get at least one cutting of hay off the field before it is fitted, any weeds that come into the seeding are usually killed out by the frost before they go to seed, and you don't have a year where you are getting little or no hay off the field. Since all I do is hay, the fields are fitted and put right back into hay for the following year. If you are going to rotations with corn or other crops, this method probably wouldn't work as well.
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#4 Rodney R

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Posted 30 March 2011 - 04:37 PM

For us here, I also go with the fall seeding. The springtime deal would be a crapshoot here, either it rains enough that the new seeding gives something, or it's so dry that the only plants that grow are weeds. I'd anticipate that about the only crop a guy would get is the oats and the straw from it. In a week or two some will here plant with oats - normal crop would be 3 bushel of oats, underseed with alfalfa/gras cut the rate to 2 bushel of oats. We'll do it on a few acres (with no oats) and hope that it gives a little, and if we get really ambitious, we'll water it so that it DOES give something. I plan on planting quite a bit in fall, and the success rate for that is about 95%. For here you'd have to plant in august to get enough growth to overwinter, and next year (2012) will just about be full production. The cutoff for this area is in the beginning of september. You have go with the recommendations for your area.

Rodney
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#5 Josh in WNY

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Posted 30 March 2011 - 04:41 PM

Another note about my method, I use a Brillion seader to put down the seed. They do a much better job of than just running a grain drill (with no grain in it) with the small box on the back for grass seed as they will pack the seed into the ground and you end up with a good seedbed. If you don't have a Brillion, you can also use a grain drill and then go over the field with a roller, but it isn't quite as good.
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#6 Goatman

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Posted 30 March 2011 - 08:39 PM

I checked the field today and the sandy part is dry, but the clay areas are wet as can be! Hopefully the rain will hold off for awhile. I am interested in your fall planting. What do you normally plant before the fall seeding? I bought a grain drill last fall. My plans are to drill in the oats and use the smaller box and pull the tubes to let the alfalfa drop on the ground. After I have done this I will run a cultipacker over it.

#7 Josh in WNY

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Posted 31 March 2011 - 07:24 AM

Since all I do is hay, the field will already be in hay before we refit it. By fall seeding, I can get the first cutting of hay off in June and then have all of July to get it plowed under and refitted, so we don't need to have any other crop on the field. Your idea of using the grain drill and then the cultipacker is the best you can do. I used that method once (before I got my Brillion seeder) and it worked pretty well. I would recommend that you do it with no (or at least very little) wind, as the seed can get scattered pretty easy.

I understand your problem with the clay ground, that's about all I have on my farm to deal with. There is usually about a 5 minute window between it being to wet and too dry, so work quick! :-)

#8 mlappin

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Posted 31 March 2011 - 08:41 AM

I bought a grain drill last fall. My plans are to drill in the oats and use the smaller box and pull the tubes to let the alfalfa drop on the ground. After I have done this I will run a cultipacker over it.


Can you add a hitch to the back of the drill? We added one to our Oliver superior back when dirt was still new and pull a packer behind the drill. Saves another trip over the field.

#9 Goatman

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Posted 31 March 2011 - 02:15 PM

I have herd that there is a toxin in the roots of alfalfa and that a rotation crop is recommended. So I rotated mine with corn for this reason. Any thoughts on this toxin? I bought the drill with another guy. I havent seen it since last fall, when it was at the auction. He didnt think I should pull it behind the drill. My original intentions were to put a hitch on the back. When I get it home in the next week so I am going to look it over and see if I can rig something up. If not I might get the ol JD H out to pull the culipacker :)

#10 mlappin

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Posted 31 March 2011 - 03:57 PM

Auto-toxicity is what you're thinking of.

We usually no-till a crop of corn in after the hay's been burned down, then a crop of beans than back to hay. If the alfalfa was getting real thin a year should be enough. Interestingly enough, I've heard autotoxicity isn't a real problem untill you cut the roots with tillage, I've had pretty good luck no-tilling into an old stand to thicken it up. However if it's getting rough then tillage is the best route.

#11 Josh in WNY

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Posted 31 March 2011 - 04:17 PM

I learn something new every day. I have never heard of this autotoxicity before. I only have a single 5 acre field in a timothy alfalfa mix and it was the first time I ever tried alfalfa. I don't plan of putting in the alfalfa again, but will I have any problems if I refit the field to straight timothy with a little birdsfoot treefoil?

#12 Goatman

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Posted 31 March 2011 - 08:47 PM

I've herd its only a problem with alfalfa to alfafla. Im attend Iowa State University next year and hope to get a minor in agronomy. I'm not real sure on it myself, but they say it can be a problem. Hopefully I can know more about it in the future! :) I have also herd that the toxin is the reason that alfalfa dies out after a few years.
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#13 Haymike56

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Posted 01 April 2011 - 07:39 AM

I have heard different theorys on Auto Toxisity. The one I am hanging my hat on showed that seeds within 18" of an exisiting Alalpha plant did not take or were stunted. My fields had large areas where there was mostly grass so Wednesday I rented a Strickland seeder and over seeded about 30 acres. I will see how this works and if so I will do more in the fall.

#14 Rodney R

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Posted 03 April 2011 - 04:13 PM

Some guys have said the auto-toxicity has been bred out of the plant, others say it's still there, so the best and safest bet is to not plant alfalfa after alfalfa. We have enough grass hay here that we can rotate one with the other, so it's not an issue for us. Most guys will recommend one crop being grown on the land before a new alfalfa crop is planted - for what we do here I either plant wheat or rye, and many guys will plant corn to take advantage of the residual N from the alfalfa.

For grass hays the auto-toxicity is not an issue at all.

Rodney




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