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Yield Prior to Kill and Replant???


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#1 VA Haymaker

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Posted 10 January 2021 - 06:11 PM

We have a very nice field that remains mostly timothy, but over the past few years, orchard grass and fescue have really moved in. My plan was to kill this field last fall, but between first and second cutting, this field yielded 200 bales per acre of excellent forage tested horse quality hay this past summer and we’ve sold all of it at very good prices in spite of being a timothy mix.

I just can’t bring myself to take down such a high yielding field of hay and replant just for “straight” timothy, though a few customers would like me to do so. They either want straight timothy because that’s what they prefer or they have pregnant mares and do not want the fescue. I’m kind of wrapped around yield.

Question is - when you decide to kill a field of hay, what kind of yield do you get in the year prior to killing and replanting? What drives you to kill and replant.

Just curious.

Thanks,
Bill

#2 SCtrailrider

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Posted 10 January 2021 - 06:35 PM

I'd let those customers that don't want the quality hay, for what ever reason it my be, look elsewhere, keep a high quality producing field for those that want it, the picky ones can try and find what they want where they can... just my way of thinking... 

 

Sorry not what you asked but no one around here whimpers about Fescue.... 


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#3 broadriverhay

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Posted 10 January 2021 - 08:09 PM

It would be hard to kill a field yielding that good.
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#4 Trotwood2955

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Posted 10 January 2021 - 08:12 PM

If you are still getting 200 bale yields I’d leave it alone. Will cost a lot to kill and replant plus some production lag likely that first year. Would need to get some premium for that new straight Timothy to be worth the expense and hassle compared to a field still producing ok. And that assumes no issues getting new stand established. Be one thing if the current stand was thinning, getting hard to control weeds (both of which would probably be lowering your yield below 200 bales), or you didn’t have a market for the mixed grass.

I know your goals and usage is different than mine, but I used to rotate fields much more than I do now, trying to keep them fresh and fairly pure. Just costs so much to do though unless you are in the premium market or grow your own row crops to keep in the rotation (I don’t). So as my stands age and turn to high yielding mix grass I just leave alone. Mix is just fine for cows. If they start thinning and weed pressure gets to be too much then they get killed. I’ve got 17 acres of still fairly pure OG I’m rotating out this year. First cut was still average or better last year but the stand is old and played out on later cuttings. And no natter how much I spray (even with grazon) just can’t get rid of weeds. For some reason it has not filled in with mixed grasses like most stands will.
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#5 stack em up

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Posted 10 January 2021 - 10:03 PM

It’s your land, not theirs. They do not get to call the shots. You have to look out for your best interests.

#6 Red Bank

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Posted 10 January 2021 - 10:18 PM

I would leave that field like it is and go find another field to start over with if you want to satisfy those customers. Remember the post on here a couple of months ago about horse people’s attitudes towards fescue changing, if you have that yield and are selling out at a decent price I wouldn’t touch the field.
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#7 mstuck21

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Posted 10 January 2021 - 10:28 PM

If you can sell the hay and are making $$ doing it I wouldn’t want to kill off a stand yielding like that either. If selling the mix causes too many (good) regular customers to want to start looking elsewhere than I’d begin to give replanting a harder look. I don’t like my good buyers out looking to see what other hay is around.
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#8 VA Haymaker

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Posted 11 January 2021 - 05:36 PM

Thanks for the comments.

I’m mostly interested, out of curiosity, what kind of yield drop-off you are looking before killing and replanting.

Thanks!
Bill

#9 Trotwood2955

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Posted 11 January 2021 - 08:12 PM

For me the minimum yield (weather constraints aside) I find typical/acceptable is five 4x5 round bales per acre in first cutting, and then 25 squares or one 4x5 per acre in later cuttings. Hopefully will exceed that on most acres, though sometimes in pure OG made very early only four bales/acre I’m ok with, as you usually make up for it by stronger 2nd and 3rd cut. Once it drops below that though coupled with a thinning stand and increase in bare spots I’d consider starting over. In your example and depending on your $ margins, I’d think as long as you are still cranking out over 100-150 bales/acre it’d be better to leave alone.
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#10 Edd in KY

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Posted 11 January 2021 - 08:25 PM

I can not give you specifics, but my kill and reseed seemed to be about  50% the following year (but a very unscientific calculation) . Add to that,  Straight timothy is tempermental and low yielding, and the fescue will suddenly appear without reseeding. So bottom line is....a few timothy seed heads will satisfy most customers that it has a percentage  of timothy (30---70%) and as you know  every bale is different. \

\

For me.....;Life is too short to deal with 100% timothy goofy's. 

\

I am a horse guy...mostly make hay for my own race horses. I seed mostly OG with a little Timothy in the hopper. The horses do fine, and we win races feeding it. If it is not up to their standard, they are free to look else where. 

 

Calculation 100 bales X $5=$500        60 bales x $7= $560 ....minus all the labor and seed costs.


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#11 slowzuki

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Posted 12 January 2021 - 02:05 PM

Same as most I wouldn't touch it.  Weed pressure the main reason to reestablish here, or ground too rough.



#12 SVFHAY

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Posted 12 January 2021 - 03:59 PM

I agree with most responses, as long as there are some timothy heads showing you should be good as far as marketing.

The decision to terminate a stand is always a tough one for me and I generally wait too long. As mentioned, weed pressure is a bigger factor that I consider most times as cool season grass yield can vary with the season.

Another factor I would consider is what is the potential yield in relation to soil type. I will put up with low yield on some fields as long as they are clean. If there is low yield on the best ground then it's time to go.
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