Hay & Forage Forum banner
1 - 12 of 12 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
16 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Should I put urea down, or is it too late (or maybe just need more rain?)

Been in a major drought for all of 2021 here in mid Michigan (little to no snow or spring rain). I decided to overseed my pure orchard grass field this spring in April, right after I put down cow manure (normally I use horse manure but I couldn't find any for a decent price). I was maybe a month late as I was waiting on our new tractor to arrive.

I read after the fact that cow manure is much LOWER in nitrogen :p

Anyway, we got next to no rain for the next 30 days, an really NO rain until just Sunday night. It's been scattered rain in the evenings since. So neither the manure, nor the seed has had a chance to kick in.

Normally I cut last week of May (this weekend), but the hay is unusually thin and looks quite sad. The winter was warmer than normal, so temps shouldn't have killed any off...

I'm wondering if I can still somehow get some urea down to give a good pop or should I just cut it as it stands? It hasn't really gone to boot yet, and is maybe 8-10 inches tall (normally 24+).

This is horse hay, so I try to keep the protien up and sugar down. If I wait too long, protien will fall to 8%. Out here we only get 2 cuts too, and normally 1st cut is my big one..

I just don't want to worry about nitrate poisoning, or wasting my $$$. I normally put urea down right after 1st cut, or at least 3 weeks before any cutting.

This field is only 4 years old, and has been overseeded every year except for last year, so it SHOULD be standing tall and proud.

***I have not done a soil sample this year, but could do one as a check. soil has always checked out great. All my fields with this grass variety seem to be faring poorly though.

Thanks for your input!
 

·
Gourmet Horse Hay Producer
Joined
·
2,951 Posts
My view is that at this point in the season if you have stunted growth in grass you won't recover by waiting. If you have a window, make what you have and then dose it with treated Urea just before a rain. The treatment delays the volatilization of the Urea but it does not help forever. I have my urea topdress for second cutting coming tomorrow. first cutting running at 63% of last years yield, so lots of us are in the same boat. high probability of showers this past monday left us high and dry, last night's storm never materialized, tonights near certain severe storm is not a hit or miss probability. That's been our situation for over a month, promises, promises. The local folks who waited for rains to come and did not capitalize on the beautiful 15 day flawless hay window we just had are now likely to experience the delays due to questionable forecasts through mid june or later. Then their second cutting, if there is one, has to survive July heat.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,511 Posts
I wouldn't assume the cow manure was lower in nitrogen.

Beyond that I agree with Hayman1 that I'd cut what you have and then fertilize for second cutting, assuming that looks like a good proposition by the time you get first cutting off the field.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
776 Posts
Cut it it is what it is.
It want get any better.
Fertilize after the first cutting and pray for rain and a better second cutting.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
156 Posts
You have to take what the weather will give you...and urea needs moisture......were in the opposite condition 3 wks of rain and counting brome horse hay so brome will be extra mature ...but we have late maturing timothy in the mix that will bump hay quality substancially..I would probably do as previously suggested
 

·
Junior Member
Joined
·
235 Posts
anyone around you do foilage fertilizer , spray ? cut it and get it up and then once the grass starts to chute have it sprayed with some nitrogen and sulphur . If you could get it back quick enough a soil and tissue sample test would find your problem and fix it with the foilage feeding . Who knows , if it wasnt your own cow manure there could be something in it not being nice to your hay . but in dry conditions i have always found more results with spraying fertilizer on .
 

·
Senior Member
Joined
·
5,732 Posts
Hard to get a lower value nitrogen that horse, has so much carbon from bedding materials in it it will tie up other nitrogen already in the field. We’ve been saving a bunch to blend with fresh chicken poo sometime.
 

·
Gourmet Horse Hay Producer
Joined
·
2,951 Posts
Hard to get a lower value nitrogen that horse, has so much carbon from bedding materials in it it will tie up other nitrogen already in the field. We've been saving a bunch to blend with fresh chicken poo sometime.
I compost mine (stall pickings bedded with oak sawdust) and put urea and lime in it while it composts. Man that stuff gets hot. Hopefully gets rid of the grass and weed seed and neutralizes any carryover herbicide issues. Makes some really nice dark product after a year and a half. Got to do something with it and my squeeze likes it for her gardening.

I always figured if you want real manure, use cow manure. If you don't have to worry about burning something up, use poultry manure, lots more N. If supplements aren't a problem, use hog manure. Of course, I never had a source for hog manure but have walked through fescue so thick I did not touch the ground that they put hog manure on repetitively.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
156 Posts
This person's problem is rain....rain will fix her issue....Nitrogen needs rain to work also....seems to me the real question is weather to take a poor crop now or wait...obviously the overseed isn't working due to lack of moisture also...its one of those tough decisions since there are pros n cons either way...if it doesn't rain could burn up the poor crop that's there.....on the other hand if the weather pattern changes she could still have a good crop just late....
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
16 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
The nitrogen amounts I'm basing off a chart I cam across online about nitrogen percentages for different manures.

I'll go ahead and cut then, most likely will have a nice second cut . . . looks like my new seeding had begun sprouting :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
16 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Follow up on the discussion:

I cut it on schedule, despite being so short. For 16 acres we pulled 300 bales off (ouch). I blasted it a week later with urea at 200 lbs/acre. It rained nicely on an off, and all my overseeded seed began to grow.

I cut a VERY lovely 2nd cut in mid July, and pulled 600 bales off those same fields. (50-60lbs)

I fertilized with the same urea mix again in early August (rains slowed down), then cut 1st week September and pulled 500 bales off. for a total of about 2.5 tons/acre for the year. . . not the best, but not the worst..

Had I NOT cut on time, I would have ha a VERY late 1st cut due to rain . . .
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
156 Posts
Follow up on the discussion:

I cut it on schedule, despite being so short. For 16 acres we pulled 300 bales off (ouch). I blasted it a week later with urea at 200 lbs/acre. It rained nicely on an off, and all my overseeded seed began to grow.

I cut a VERY lovely 2nd cut in mid July, and pulled 600 bales off those same fields. (50-60lbs)

I fertilized with the same urea mix again in early August (rains slowed down), then cut 1st week September and pulled 500 bales off. for a total of about 2.5 tons/acre for the year. . . not the best, but not the worst..

Had I NOT cut on time, I would have ha a VERY late 1st cut due to rain . . .
Thx for the followup its good to share results.
 
1 - 12 of 12 Posts
Top