Hay & Forage Forum banner
1 - 8 of 8 Posts

·
Gourmet Horse Hay Producer
Joined
·
3,143 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Been thinking a lot lately about reducing my operations to just what I need for my boarding op and selling several wagon loads of hay which qualifies me for the land use tax reduction program. My concerns are that my input costs are just too high to maintain the product that I have been selling for 30 years. However, the available options for other users are that all of them (the few that are available) would either go to crops (which I don't want), or would not put the inputs on that would maintain the fields in the condition that I have kept them in. Most do minimal fertilization and effectively run the ground down and do not do timely effective weed control. I have effectively banished mullein, thistle, multiflora rose, johnson grass and a hose of others. Still fighting with chickweed and speedwell.

So, I am considering fallowing the ground I don't need for hay each year, spraying the planned fallow ground in the prior October with grazon or duracor or chaparral if I have a speedwell issue, letting it go to seed the following season, clipping in late july to spread the seed and clipping again in October for fall cleanup. That way, i cut out my fertilizer input for the fallow year(s) and cut my overseeding cost to zero since it will reseed itself. Thinking that the fallow time is 2 years with fertilzation the following spring and harvest as normal. By fallowing rather than having someone else hay it, there is no mining of nutrients.

What am I not thinking about that I should be considering?

When clipping areas that have gone to seed, is it better to cut high with a flail discbine to spread seed or does that damage the seed too much? My other choice is a 10' bushhog, cutting high in one pass, then again at say 8" stubble height.

Any thoughts appreciated. r
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
33 Posts
Transition to Eastern Gamagrass an option? Spring burn (good ol fashioned fire) every third year or 1/3 of the acreage every year, take a high tdn cut in June for whatever amount of horse hay you desire that particular year, then let it go to seed. It'll out-compete out any potential weeds and the spring burn will keep C3s from encroaching. Just remember to cut it high (8-10") in order to keep it thriving, speed up the drying, and max nutrition.

or

Cover/smother crops. They beat out fallow hands down with our rainfall, which is similar to yours. Plenty of species to choose from for various desired outcomes - aeration with radishes, tilthing clay with cereal rye or sunflower, nitrogen from sunn hemp or other legumes, mineralization/availability with buckwheat etc...

Either way, it'd be awesome to see a person in your situation (which I consider ideal) to choose actions that challenge ag chem dependency.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
545 Posts
Couple thoughts. Is this owned, leased, or “free lease so the owners get land use” ground? If leased ground I think it would be hard to pencil out, even with the other lower inputs.

I think the heavy thatch and trash from the prior year clipping might make it into the hay bale. A lot? Not sure. Probably just depends how thick it gets in the fallow years and how much it decomposes.

I think you’d have to bushhog it to get it mowed off at a high enough height and ground up into smaller pieces to aid decomposition. I think even a wide windrow behind the discbine is going to be high risk of choking out underneath.

Any of this fenced? Could you run stocker cattle on it during the fallow years spring to fall?

Good luck. We keep looking for ways to make less hay, graze longer, etc. too. Still can’t quite figure how to not have to make at least some hay to manage spring flush.
 

·
Gourmet Horse Hay Producer
Joined
·
3,143 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Couple thoughts. Is this owned, leased, or “free lease so the owners get land use” ground? If leased ground I think it would be hard to pencil out, even with the other lower inputs.

I think the heavy thatch and trash from the prior year clipping might make it into the hay bale. A lot? Not sure. Probably just depends how thick it gets in the fallow years and how much it decomposes.

I think you’d have to bushhog it to get it mowed off at a high enough height and ground up into smaller pieces to aid decomposition. I think even a wide windrow behind the discbine is going to be high risk of choking out underneath.

Any of this fenced? Could you run stocker cattle on it during the fallow years spring to fall?

Good luck. We keep looking for ways to make less hay, graze longer, etc. too. Still can’t quite figure how to not have to make at least some hay to manage spring flush.
It’s mine and not fenced. I would bushhog after using the mower, figure I have to run the hog through it twice separated by a week to really get it well chopped. I cut 5” stubble height so hoped that would reduce the thatch in future bales.
How many animals do you have and is the land close to your farm. Fence the fields the after taking first crop off let the animals graze it. You may still have to clip or spray/ spot spray. The animals will do some fertilizing for you.
no cattle and I’m too old to want to start fooling with them now. No fence. To have it fenced would be a fortune
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
108 Posts
single fertilizer of ~50lbs nitrogen followed by a hay cutting ~3 weeks later. mine a little of the P&K while prices are high. herbicide with residual where needed. clipping with rotary cutter isn't cheap either. set the price of hay to make a profit
 

·
Hay Master
Joined
·
1,250 Posts
Is there anyone around who would want the field for hay?

About three years ago, I was at a crossroads. Had been nursing rusted out iron for years trying to make hay. Finally got to the point where I was about to have to make a significant investment to upgrade equipment or get out of the hay business. Decided when the good Lord calls me home, I'm not going to be in the middle of a hayfield working on a broken down baler in the middle of July in Georgia, LOL. New grandbabies also factored into the decision.

Basically, I let an acquaintance "have" the field for hay. Told him instead of rent, I would rather he put the money in fertilizer and lime - and that's what he did. He rolls up with three fairly new cab tractors and equipment and gets done in three days what took me weeks. Field looks better than ever and I don't have to bushhog, or spray, of do anything else to it. It's worked out well for both of us.
 
1 - 8 of 8 Posts
Top