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Tell me about crabgrass hay


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#1 treyrooster

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Posted 03 April 2021 - 06:46 PM

Interested in crabgrass for cattle hay. Does anybody have any experience with this. Tons per acre per cut, drying time, and protein content?

#2 JOR Farm

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Posted 03 April 2021 - 09:49 PM

I have 1 field with a few acers of mostly crabgrass native not hybrid. Makes a bit more volume than bahia. I have seen it make 8 4X5 rolls per acre 3 times a year if I get a late 4th cutting normally crabgrass has already gone to seed not much left then. As far as drying time I give that field an extra day so if I cut Monday I'll bale Thursday or Friday

#3 TJ Hendren

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Posted 04 April 2021 - 09:11 AM

Crabgrass likes food and water, without either you won't get much. It is a very lush grass there is not a ruminate that will not eat it and relish it. Where you are at 3-4 cutting a year would not be out of the question, as long as you fertilize and have rain. I grow the Red River variety and over a 6 year run have gotten anywhere form 1 1/2 to 6 4x65" bales per acre per cutting. I've never had mine tested but have been told it is only second to alfalfa in protein content. Keep in mind that protein is nothing more than nitrogen diluted in the plant so protein content is determined by how much nitrogen is applied. Go to redrivercrabgrass.com and there is many fact sheets there from the developer of it, everything from how to plant it to fertilization, harvest, grazing etc. I like everything about it except for me it's a gamble since I don't have irrigation and in mid summer if the rain shuts off about 2 cuttings is all I will get. You must let it go to seed once during the season unless you want to buy seed every year but even at that stage hay is still very good. R.L. Dalrymple who developed the variety said he has a waiting list for the stuff that comes out of the back of the combine after seed harvest. Drying time 3-5 days, I can do it in three behind a conditioner and ted once others ted 2-3 times without conditioning. I've found it better when it gets close to ready to rake it and let it finish drying in the windrow as getting it off the ground and exposed to the sun and breeze will help greatly finish drying.


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#4 69zfarmer

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Posted 05 April 2021 - 06:41 AM

I love CG here in north Alabama. I had hybrid Bermuda and CG took it over. I fought it for a couple of years. Finally gave up and added CG seed to the volunteer stand. Like above post it has to have food and water.

While we are talking about it. What type of light tillage tool do i need to run over my rocky ground to stir ground up to germinate last years seed? I need somehting that runs shallow and just scratches the ground. Because i have alot of rocks that could be pulled up. 



#5 TJ Hendren

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Posted 05 April 2021 - 08:26 AM

I run a chain link harrow set in aggressive mode over mine. Teeth set at the 45 degree angle. All you need to do is scratch the ground of course the more tillage the better not over 2-3 inches, but as you have seen with your volunteer grass it doesn't take much. Where i am at even the freeze thaw cycle does the job. This year we hit 13 below so i may not even do it at all.


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#6 TJ Hendren

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Posted 05 April 2021 - 10:49 AM

One other thing, DO NOTHING TO IT INCLUDING FERTIZLING FROM THE TIME IT GERMINATES UNTIL IT HAS FOUR LEAVES ON IT OR THERE IS A 98% CHANCE YOU WILL KILL IT OR SEVERLY INJURE IT. It is very easy to kill during this time. It grows pretty quick so you won't have to wait long. Liquid fertilizer stream it on through tubes, granular when the leaves are not wet. To spray liquid or apply granular when leaves are wet WILL burn it severely. This is all from experience. 


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#7 69zfarmer

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Posted 09 April 2021 - 05:09 AM

Wow TJ! I did not know that. How tall is it normally when it develops four leaves? I noticed some of mine is popping up already here in north Alabama.



#8 TJ Hendren

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Posted 10 April 2021 - 10:21 AM

3-4 inches. My personal gauge is if I can put my index finger on the ground and it is at the third knuckle I go. The best time is to get the fertilizer on 2-3 weeks before it germinates.  If it is just now popping its at its most venerable time. Also if your mower will cut 3-4 inches cut it at that height and regrowth will be much faster, your field should still look green between the swaths. Very important to leave leaves on the stem for it to survive, don't just leave a toothpick. After you let it go to seed and you are going to make your last cutting you can shave the ground if you want because it is a true annual it won't survive the winter if it freezes in your part of the world and 32 degrees will kill it, any time it drops below 40 in the fall it's pretty much done for the year. Being an equatorial grass like Bermuda in the fall it is sensitive to length of day also. Basically it is a lot like Bermuda in that it likes it's food and water, but it differs in that it is not as tough and not a perineal unless of course it's in your vegie garden. LOL.    


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#9 69zfarmer

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Posted 13 April 2021 - 06:10 AM

So do you reseed every year? Or after you let it "go to seed" the last cutting you shave the ground. Is that enough to come back next year? I have been letting mine go to seed and leave it at that stage through the winter. Does any come back by the roots or is it just the "go to seed" only that makes it come back after the winter? 


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#10 TJ Hendren

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Posted 15 April 2021 - 03:08 PM

It will only come back by reseeding it's self. Winter kills the entire plant. A good heavy seed crop has enough hard seed that you can build a seed bank if that's what you want to do, and I do it. I let it go to seed once every year regardless of timing, and last cut go down to 2" to keep a little ground cover about the middle of October our average first frost is around the 24 to 1st of Nov. Like you mine has already germinated now we are facing a frost next Wed morning but there is nothing anyone can do about it, oh well the farmers life.






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