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Does soil quality affect hay quality?


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#1 reckelhoff1000

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Posted 08 January 2021 - 09:38 AM

So I recently soil tested some hay ground.  Some that I rent and some that I get for free.  They had been mined(hay taken no fertilizer applied) for years prior to me making the hay.  The tests were terrible, which I expected.  I know that this soil quality is affecting the tonnage, but does it affect the nutritional value of the hay that it does produce?    


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#2 stack em up

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Posted 08 January 2021 - 09:59 AM

Yes it absolutely does. I live in an area that is deficient in SE, and we need to supplement it to make sure animals aren’t deficient.
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#3 PaulN

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Posted 08 January 2021 - 10:10 AM

Anyone in the dairy business will test their feed monthly. They can tell you, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that soil fertility makes a huge difference in the nutritional value of any feed.

 

I can see it in my own garden. The color & taste of the produce that I harvest is always better than anything from a store, thanks to a generous dose of manure.



#4 reckelhoff1000

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Posted 08 January 2021 - 10:30 AM

So what I am trying to figure out at this point what I should do.  If the the hay I am getting doesn't have very good feed quality because of the poor soil should I even worry about making it?  According to the soil samples I would be looking at about $300 an acre to get it back in balance.



#5 stack em up

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Posted 08 January 2021 - 10:41 AM

So what I am trying to figure out at this point what I should do.  If the the hay I am getting doesn't have very good feed quality because of the poor soil should I even worry about making it?  According to the soil samples I would be looking at about $300 an acre to get it back in balance.


That’s a question only you can answer. It depends some on the soil samples to me at least. If I can fix it for $300/acre but then just maintenance after that, it would be worth it if I owned the land. If it was rented I would try to work out a deal with the landlord if you fixed it could you get a long term contract.

Would it be possible to see a snapshot of the samples? It might answer some questions you have.
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#6 reckelhoff1000

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Posted 08 January 2021 - 11:03 AM

I don't have them yet, the guy at the coop called and we went over the major inputs I would need.  He is dropping them in the mail.  So when I get them i'll throw them on a post.  The major input cost, they were recommending were 3 ton of lime, and it needs 1300lbs of pot ash per acre.  I know that pot ash would have to be spread out over several years to get that type of increase.  Turkey manure is another option I was considering, but I just wanted gather a little more information before I went to the land owner with some options and see what he says.


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#7 8350HiTech

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Posted 08 January 2021 - 08:42 PM

Keep the land. Hit it hard with the manure.

#8 SCtrailrider

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Posted 09 January 2021 - 08:08 AM

Lime will only travel 1/4" down per year, unless it's plowed in, 3 tons per is a lot and wouldn't get to where it needs to go any time soon and would need to be done every year or two from what I have read on this site..



#9 slowzuki

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Posted 09 January 2021 - 09:22 AM

If it’s just lime and potash - you’re in the same boat as most of the hay producers in the north east. If you’re on a budget I’d do 1 ton per acre lime and 300 lbs potash per year instead of all in one shot unless you are gonna incorporate it with plowing etc.

By far the cheapest though is the manure option. It will require a lot but will fix many of the other deficiencies at the same time with the hazard off having too much phosphorus. Over time you can skip p application and bring those down though.

#10 Trillium Farm

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Posted 09 January 2021 - 02:39 PM

So I recently soil tested some hay ground.  Some that I rent and some that I get for free.  They had been mined(hay taken no fertilizer applied) for years prior to me making the hay.  The tests were terrible, which I expected.  I know that this soil quality is affecting the tonnage, but does it affect the nutritional value of the hay that it does produce?    

Before I spend any money on these lands I'd write up a contract so that you can be guaranteed a lease to recoup your money and make a profit. The best way is the manure way, but it's also the longest. So if you have to lime & apply N P K this will give you the fastest result, but also the most expensive.



#11 Edd in KY

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Posted 10 January 2021 - 08:59 AM

This s a great topic. Does anyone know of articles or a place to learn about the relationship between soil fertility and hay nutrition values? Perhaps some University has done the research?



#12 endrow

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Posted 10 January 2021 - 02:23 PM

I agree great topic . I sell  privately  to a number of buyers who I have a good relationship with and they trust me that my hay ground has the proper nutrient levels . They are concerned about levels that are way to HIGH . Usually for pregnant animals like dry cows or Mares .. Some of these farmers will over apply manure for years and really get things out of wack . I have an Amish who will call and ask (in Deitch) for some of my grass from back off the hills that was not peppered so hard     


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#13 r82230

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Posted 10 January 2021 - 11:17 PM

So what I am trying to figure out at this point what I should do.  If the the hay I am getting doesn't have very good feed quality because of the poor soil should I even worry about making it?  According to the soil samples I would be looking at about $300 an acre to get it back in balance.

 

Think about only putting on 1/3 of shortage (rebuilding), plus what you are removing the first year.   Doing this most likely will give you the best bang for the buck, IMHO.  I wouldn't be surprised (weather permitting) that you might see perhaps a ton more hay the first year, which could more than cover your cost, if hay prices are like they are in MY area. 

 

Just as any FYI. my fertilizer/lime cost(s) run about $100-125 an acre per year.  YMMV

 

Larry


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#14 siscofarms

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Posted 18 January 2021 - 09:57 AM

If resting the ground for a year and grazing it is an option along with some nutrient cycling cover crops it helps A LOT . At the end of a run of whatever youve been doing and time to redo the hay stand , graze it . do the sudan and sunhemp along with whatever else you wanna throw in , radishes maybe , and graze the crap out of it . and by crap I mean cow manure . May not even be a option for you but if it is , it will help .






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