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When to Cut Orchard Grass for 2nd Cut?


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#1 whitmerlegacyfarm

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Posted 28 June 2012 - 06:09 PM

So my orchard grass fields are about a foot high but starting to brown on the ends, and it's also starting to lay over some. I did put on about 200lbs of Urea to the acre and also sprayed some 2-4D ester a little over 3 weeks ago. We are a little behind on rain probably, w/ forcast showing 90+ for the next 5 days w/ chance of passing Tstorm. I'm curious when i know it's ready for a second cutting, or when it's necessary because i was when its ready its ready lol, and if you let it go to long nothing will eat it. I would like to see it get a good bit higher still, but at the same time i would like to get a 3rd cutting from it.

Thanks all

#2 swmnhay

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Posted 28 June 2012 - 06:47 PM

Orchardgrass is a cool season grass and will stall out in hot dry weather I typicaly cut it every 45 days.It can lay over quite a bit but cuts fine with disk mower.The leaves are what is lying over.It may shoot some heads 2nd-3rd cutting but not usualy many.

#3 Vol

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Posted 28 June 2012 - 07:20 PM

I did put on about 200lbs of Urea to the acre and also sprayed some 2-4D ester a little over 3 weeks ago.


Cant recall off the top of my head but i believe you are supposed to wait 30 days or so after spraying 2-4d before you harvest for hay.

Regards, Mike

#4 Teslan

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Posted 28 June 2012 - 08:42 PM

I just cut some 2nd cutting and I wish it was a foot tall. Normally is in a normal year when I can irrigate better. But it was starting to brown at the tips with no signs of moisture. I say cut it.

#5 whitmerlegacyfarm

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Posted 29 June 2012 - 09:35 PM

So it's browning just from all the heat. I just waanted to make sure i didn't do anything wrong spraying 2-4D or spreadying Urea. I spread Urea right before about a good steady 1 1/2" of rain over a month ago and i believe that's when i sprayed 2-4D also. We have to to many days coming up with chances of Tstorms so i'm afraid to cut it, but suppose to be in the 90s for next week. I'm in the Northeast. Does the orchard grass take as long to dry for 2nd cut being it's just all leaves/blades of grass. I will using a haybine also. Do i lay it wide or can i just narrow it up a little bit and then ted it out with my Fluffer, day two and three. Thanks all

#6 sedurbin

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Posted 30 June 2012 - 05:27 PM

I'm in east central Missouri and it is dry-dry. You can do things quite a bit different on the second cutting.

When the ground is dry and I know I'm going to have a fairly safe weather forecast, I'll keep it in a narrow windrow, don't ted, this protects most of the hay from bleaching in the hot sun as well as keeping the short pieces of grass together so you don't lose them in the stubble. At 90 degrees and dry your hay will cure pretty fast, maybe 2 days. I have seen it cure the same day if it hasn't had a rain for a while.

Conditions vary for everyone and this business is a combination of art and science, this summer it's been more art.

One advantage to getting old is that you know a lot of tricks, downside is trying to remember them.

Good luck and as always your mileage may vary.

Sam
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#7 Teslan

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Posted 30 June 2012 - 05:48 PM

Orchard grass cure in one day? Two days? Here in Colorado it sure doesn't. Takes about 3 days this time of year and we have very low humidity here.

#8 Vol

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Posted 30 June 2012 - 06:55 PM

Orchard grass usually takes 2 days to cure here in the Southeast when tedded. Temps like the 107 degrees today with low humidity, I am sure it would cure in one day.

Regards, Mike

#9 Teslan

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Posted 30 June 2012 - 07:16 PM

We must have a different variety of orchard grass then or it is much thicker.

#10 whitmerlegacyfarm

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Posted 30 June 2012 - 08:51 PM

I cut it today around 3:30 i guess. I layed it wide it was actually a lot higher and thicker then i thought. I thought it was about a foot hight but was anywhere from a foot to 2ft layed over at places. I'm hoping i can bale it monday later. I'm gona use my tedder/fluffer tomorrow. Once or twice depending on how it seems to be drying. Problem i have w/ my tedder/fluffer is since i layed it wide when i go over it i run on the swath and my fluffer does not always pick it up in the wheel tracks.

I wonder if i would be ok to rake it up and then fluff it i know it's an extra trip over it i know, i just figured if i layed it wide for a day or so give it that extra time to dry.

#11 sedurbin

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Posted 30 June 2012 - 10:34 PM

My second cut grass will rarely go much over a ton/acre (30~45 bales / acre) so the cure times I am talking about is based on that volume. If you're lucky enough to live somewhere that has weather that allows the second cut orchard grass to be bigger then I'm sure it would take longer than a day to cure. The orchard grass is probably the same, it's the location, weather and the amount of hay that will cause most of the differences.

My first cut grass could yield around 3 tons per acre. In mid may it will usually take a min of three days to cure and that includes spreading it wide and tedding at least once. Even then I end up with some hay that is pushing the upper limit for moisture. Seems like that time of year the weather is never favorable and most of the time I'm hurrying to get the hay out of the field before the next rain hits.

A couple weeks ago, I did a second cut on a 14 acre field of alfalfa / orchard grass. It's been so dry that I was able to leave it in a narrow windrow for 3 days. I was able to rake at 5:30 am (no dew) on the 4th day and was baling by 9:30 am. Most of the orchard grass was less than a foot tall. If I had tedded, I'm sure a lot of it would have been lost in the stubble and the rake wouldn't pick it up. It made really nice hay and the yield was 550 bales @ about 60 pounds each with the moisture around 12%. In a normal year I would have still taken the same time but would have spread it out and tedded the morning after cutting.

It's been so wet for the last 3 or 4 years I almost forgot what dry weather haying was like.

#12 Vol

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Posted 01 July 2012 - 06:32 AM

We must have a different variety of orchard grass then or it is much thicker.


Could be, our first cuttings typically average around 3 ton per acre and subsequent cuttings around 40% of that. Our average rainfall is over 50" annually so our first cutting is pretty lush. A couple of years ago I switched from using a U.S. variety called Darby and went to a European variety called Athos. It does have thinner stems and somewhat thinner leaves and matures about 2 weeks later than Darby. It is a little slower to establish but I really like it and stock finds it very palatable. It still typically took only 2 days for domestic varietys of orchard grass to cure here, and that is what is typical for most forage people here.

Regards, Mike

#13 steve in IN

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Posted 06 July 2012 - 04:15 PM

I hope I get a second on my grass. Made first around the first week in JUne and it still is only about six inches tall

#14 whitmerlegacyfarm

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Posted 08 July 2012 - 07:03 PM

I got it all cut and made last Monday everything went well. Had it dried and baled in 3 days. Made very nice bale. I ended up with about 53 bales from a 1 1/2 ac field. Was very suprised it was much heavier then i thought, guess thing the N was worth it just hard to say, we lacked the rain the last 2 weeks before cutting.

#15 JD3430

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Posted 08 July 2012 - 10:57 PM

Finished 1st cutting of better hay about June 21. Made about 80 tons of mushroom hay from June21-today. Second cutting fields are about 18" high. Would like to build up as much tonnage in this cutting as possible but weeds are growing well, too!




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