Howdy! Long time reader, first time poster.
I have 30 acs. of pasture land that I am planning to convert to a hay field (either Jiggs or Coastal, sprigged). The goal is to prep now and sprig in late February/early March 2021. So I have about 16 months or so to make-ready.
The current pasture grasses consist primarily of: common Bermuda (30%), Kleingrass (30%), KR bluestem (20%), Texas wintergrass--aka speargrass (10%), with the remainder being a mix of Johnson grass and other natives.
The pasture has been vacant for nearly 25 years (no grazing whatsoever), however, it has been kept very neatly mowed (3-4") over the years--which has helped with weed management. It has only been chemically sprayed for weeds once--and that was early this summer, using Cimarron Plus.
It has been years since the pasture has seen commercial fertilizer. A recent soil analysis calls for 70 lbs. N/ac. and 70 lbs. P2O5/ac. The pH is 7.3 (slightly alkaline). The soil type is commonly referred to as Blackland Prairie, which has a heavy black clay topsoil (2-3' deep) and a yellow clay subsoil underneath.
My thoughts on site prep are:
1) Spray with glyphosate in early spring as grasses/weeds begin to emerge;
2) Chisel plow shortly after chemical burndown;
3) Spray with Pastora in say mid-April in an attempt to control the Texas wintergrass and KR bluestem;
4) Disc plow (multiple times) to break up clods, control vegetation and prep soil bed;
5) Use field cultivator to break up remaining clods and prep soil bed;
6) Spray herbicides as needed to eliminate/control emerging grasses and weeds;
7) Possibly light disc and/or use cultipacker just prior to sprigging.
Any other suggestions regarding my site prep plan? Any benefit to spraying and/or chiseling this fall? Keep in mind that it is extremely dry here and any attempt at plowing now would be almost pointless. We desperately need some rain!
Also, regarding fertilizer application... When should I start applying fertilizer in an effort build up the soil? Should I apply any now? Or should I wait until after the field has been sprigged?
Thanks in advance for your input. I look forward to your replies!