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From Pasture...to Hay Field


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#1 roxie

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Posted 05 October 2019 - 09:24 PM

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! 



#2 Tx Jim

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Posted 06 October 2019 - 07:25 AM

Welcome to HT

Curiosity forces me to ask why are you going to wait until 2021 to sprig?  I think the longer you wait the higher the costs for plowing/sprigging/fertilizer will be.  IMHO if I was intending to sprig some soil Jiggs would be the variety I would choose. Plowed soil will have better soil quality if it has experienced the freezing temp's of Winter to help pulverize the clods.


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#3 roxie

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Posted 06 October 2019 - 08:26 AM

Hi Jim, and thanks for your reply.

 

I just recently did a bunch of dozer work (tree clearing, leveling, taking out old fences, etc.) around the perimeter of the property. As a result, I have numerous piles of trees/brush setting in the middle of the field waiting to be burned. After burning, I will then need to level out the dirt left behind from the tree roots. We are currently under a 'burn ban' and it doesn't appear that it will be lifted anytime soon. So trying to prep and sprig by next spring might be a challenge.

 

I don't own any tillage equipment, so all of the prep work will be custom hire. Therefore I don't want to plow around the burn piles now and end up with large areas of un-prepped ground when it's time to sprig.



#4 Troy Farmer

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Posted 06 October 2019 - 02:53 PM

Welcome to HT.

From my experience with sprigging I would not start chemical burndown until the late summer and fall prior to the spring of sprigging.  I would also only use glyphosate for burndown. If you have heavy residue I would burn the field before plowing.  Immediately after sprigging spray with Diuron.  You will have very little competition from other grass before your Bermuda gets established.  Apply plenty of N & K and clip (bush hog) regularly the first year.  The more your clip it the faster it spreads.  Oh yeah, order plenty of rain too. 






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