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  1. #1

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    Default Pasture sprayers and spraying

    Not sure just where this post belonged...

    Looking for sage advice regarding pasture improvement through weed spraying with or without fertilizer. I don't want to poison the world with my spraying just kill off some weeds to give grass a better chance. Seems some folks spend an inordinate amount of time brush hogging to control weeds while others have fantastic looking fields by spraying.

    There seems to be a virtually unlimited menu of agents, mixtures of agents, treatment rates, application methods and on and on. I feel like the guy being helped by the Dell computer geek, the one whose head was made to spin. I sure don't want to mess up my ponds or the fish or other life contained there. I am temporarily impecunias, no cows. Will be getting more animals soon so don't want to use anything that is not compatible with grazing.

    I have just bought a 3PH PTO driven sprayer with a single spray nozzle that is supposed to cover a 20-40 ft swath depenging on pressure. I have yet to plumb the seperately purchased PTO pumb to the sprayer. It came with a pistol grip wand for spot spraying and has a 165 gallon tank. I think I will get it plumbed up and make some tests with just tap water to see about what my application rates are. Any reason why I shouldn't put a pressure gauge on it so I can adjustthe pressure from a position of knowledge instead of just guessing?

    I have seen various products for sale for rinsing a spray tank when changing roles for the sprayer and you don't want to kill yor trees or whatever. Even read ammonia dilution recipe for tank cleaning. What works? Is there a safe and reliable rinse method/product that will allow you to safely spray fertilizer after spraying weed killer?

    Patrick

  2. #2
    Bronze Member
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    Mar 2002
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    Lansing, MI
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    Default Re: Pasture sprayers and spraying

    Patrick,

    If you search under "pasture management" numerous site should be available for review. Your post mentions cows; all we have are horses. I know horses are more particular than the cows and they (horses) leave more uneaten plants than do the cows. We have not had the $$ to do any "weed control" spraying so we have managed our place by mowing the pastures to control the weeds and allow the pasture mix to thrive. The problem w/ the spray herbicides that I can see is that it could potentially kill off stuff that your critters would eat. My problem is probably that I'm not educated enough to know what chemicals to put on the land. Now...if I get educated and can justify the 3ph spreader that would mean more seat time....there's potential here...

    I can't help you w/ the sprayer cleaning.

    Maybe others w/ more info could help us both in this area.....

    b249

  3. #3
    Super Star Member Egon's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pasture sprayers and spraying

    Patrick:

    No sage advive or even real knowledge.

    Have you considered having your soil analized, then dethaching the pasture and overseeding with grasses compatable to the soil.
    One could also divide the area into smaller units using fences. Cultivate and reseed one area at a time and when all is established rotate the animals through these smaller enclosures. Intensive grazing for a short period and lots of time for rejuvination. Should find lots of info for this type of approach on internet sites.
    Will you need certification for the purchase and use of some of the herbicides?

    And last of all, some weeds may be benificial to the soil.

    Egon

  4. #4

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    Default Re: Pasture sprayers and spraying

    Thanks Egon, All are suggestions of merit. It is a quarter section and is partly cross fenced. I have another fence to complete. The pipe end and corner posts are in and over 1/2 of the 1/2 mile fence run and gate posts. Need to stick in the rest of the T posts, stretch the last few hundred yds of wire and stick a gate in the gate hole THEN I will have essentially 4ea 40 acre pastures with good water in each. They are by no means of equal grazing quality and have not had any attention but light grazing (and some deer browsing) for several years (decades?) since this was cotton farms 50 and more years ago. Since I moved onto the place and got a tractor I have been brush hogging but I'm just one guy with a medium small tractor (kubota L4610) and I want to see more progress.

    Humorous digression: I should learn patience... BUT HOW [censored] LONG WILL THAT TAKE!!!!!!!!

    Some of the acreage is pretty good but some is real poor, just barely grows a sparse scattering of weeds and is subject to errosion. I would like to get something with roots growing to hold the soil (such as it is) If that something is cow beneficial too that is a bonus.

    Was that beneficial weed comment stating a theoretical possibility or are you familiar with concrete examples you could share?

    I guess I should keep searching. So far I have found sites that require you to be an expert to benefit from their info and others that are so diluted as to be useless to even the neophyte. Like Goldilocks,I'll have to keep trying until I find some that are "just right."

    Patrick

  5. #5
    Super Member
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    Default Re: Pasture sprayers and spraying

    Patrick,
    Don't worry so much about it. Spray right now in the spring is your best bet to control weeds. If you have common weeds you will do just fine with a 2-4D product, Weedar Brand 64 is excellent for pastures. But apply it in the spring. Once summer hits don't even waste your money spraying. Now if you have alot of "brush" type" weeds like saplings, multi-flower rose, briar, etc. use a product called Crossbow. It is excellent for these types. Just mix it according to the mfg. recommendations and you will be fine.

    As far as cleaning your sprayer goes just good old fashioned water is the best. Just keep running water through the sprayer until it becomes clear. For what you are doing that will be more than adequate.

    With the limited spraying you will do you will not mess up your ponds or your env. there and the products I have mentioned you can graze right away on or within 24 hours. No problems.

    Lastly yes get a gauge and find out what the application rates are for your speed on your tractor. If you can't do this you can experiment with driving and use. You just want the ground to be covered not saturated when you apply. This is probably the hardest part if you aren't adept at it. If you have a gauge and the book from your sprayer you can just match ground speed from the specific gear on your tractor to your sprayer. This is where the gear tractors are much better than the hydros as you can control your ground speed alot better.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Pasture sprayers and spraying

    I suggest you subscribe to two publications, The Stockman Grassfarmer and Acres USA, that deal with these type of issues. The cost of subscriptions will be well under the cost of the herbicides you're thinking of buying.

    One tactic to avoid the high cost of herbicides and avoid or minimize mowing is to use multispecies grazing. Cattle, sheep and goats all have different preferences in plants. By running them together you can save money and labor. That means that a unit of land that can support a given number of cattle can at the same time support sheep because of the different preferences. If you rotationally graze, you can also avoid other problems (minimize parasites and allow forage to recover) to make the best use of your grass.

    Over time using multispecies grazing will naturally improve your pastures without spending tons of money on herbicides.

  7. #7
    Super Star Member Egon's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pasture sprayers and spraying

    Patrick:

    The benificial weeds are correct. It is something I have read but cannot recall exact names. Limited memory and it works in generalities, not specifics. Some enhance soil qualities while others provide wild bird food. There are those, of course, that are detrimental to pasture applications.

    The same goes for the intensive grazing of small areas which are then allowed to recuperate. Doing this the animals are not as selective in what they eat and all the plant species have a chance at regeneration.

    With the amount af land you have it is possible to experiment on a very small portion. There are many others here with real knowledge so consider my posts as trivia information used for campfire philosophy.

    Egon

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Pasture sprayers and spraying

    am not a fan of spraying pastures, but if you have to because of the weeds/quantity thereof if you live in a rural area you may consult a local company that the farmer/ranger are using.

    here comes my little wisdom about pasture maintenance:

    1. mowe often at least every 4 weeks

    2. spread the dung/manure

    3. reseed the bare areas

    4. selection of seed is very important

    5. fertilization is a must

    6. rotate the pastures


    1. mowing the pastures often: this provides for a thick growth, gives broadleaf weeds from taking over.

    2. if your tractor is strong enough drag the pasture at the same time to reduce compactation+ of the soil and seat time, wear and tear on your back and your tractor. horses by nature are very smart and don't eat too close to their own manure piles; that is if the animal receives otherwise enough nutrition. this is as not to ingest parasites(worms etc) detrimental to their health.

    3. & 4. the reseeding, overseeding program with the proper to your climate best equipped seed is very important.

    5. an ongoing fert. program is a must if the pastures are used heavenly. Also an aeration program is suggested, which is a mini till and gets the N P K and other minerals to the roots of the plants faster.

    6. if you have more than one pasture rotate at least every four weeks and than do your maintenance chores. if you have one pasture and time and money permitting split the pasture in two parts at least and do the maintenance steps above.

    stay away from chemicals if you have animals on your pastures, over the forty some years i have not found any weed control to be totally safe. TRUE GREEN CHEM LAWN will not let you put grazing animals on an area for some 90 days, that tells you that something is not too kosher.

    good luck

  9. #9

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    Default Re: Pasture sprayers and spraying

    Richard, (AKA cowboy from Dominion of Canada???) Just kidding! AND Egon, B249, and BUBENBERG,

    Thanks folks. I think I agree with most of what y'all said even though that sounds contradictory. I have conflicting desires but... I will figure out something that hopefully isn't too dumb. My large local feed store and supply expert suggested that I wait a couple weeks more before spraying as some weeds (that NEED killing) were not vulnerable yet. That was Saturday, so weekend after next plus or minus rain and soggy fields, I'll give it a try. Hopefully in moderation. The place hasn't seen spray in decades if ever so if I underspray and get less than an optimum kill it will still be better than not doing it, barring any unforseen disasters.

    I have identified one real good candidate area to not spray as this area has chest high arrow leaf clover in a good year and I haven't seen anything that kills the rest and spares the clover. I will walk that field, not more than 20 acres or so and only about 10 with superlative clover and use a back pack sprayer to hit the really bad weedy areas.

    Any thoughts from the brain trust regarding liquid fertilizer mixed with the weed killer or must it be done at a different time?

    Patrick

  10. #10

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    Default Re: Pasture sprayers and spraying

    Hi, PatrickG.

    I am gaining some experience spraying this spring on several large residential properties that have 4-5 acres of turf each, two of them have another 4-5 acres of open fields that the owners want to control. Keep in mind that these are not pastureland properties so I can't give you any advice on spraying land that will be grazed. I did quite a bit of ag spraying as a teen in the midwest but philosophies have changed since then and the rules are a bit different, too.

    As far as a cleaning solvent, I picked up a reasonbly inexpensive product called "Nutra-Sol" that appears to be doing good job of flushing my system with no problems associated with carryover. The product is in powder form and mixes with water. The solution neutralizes chemicals and (supposedly) prevents acidic or caustic damage to valves, strainers, and pump components. I haven't been using it long enough to tell you with confidence anything about the preventative aspect.

    I wanted to learn as much as possible before I began applying chemicals that are potentially harmful to the environment and drinking water. The best resources out there are major university ag extension services. offers quite a few publications on weed control using various methods in various field applications. <A target="_blank" HREF=http://www.extension.iastate.edu/pubs/we1.htm>Iowa State University offers some helpful publications, too. I didn't look at your profile, but bet there's a university extension office somewhere near you if you'd rather speak with a human. In most cases, part of the ag extension worker's job is to evaluate the conditions of your property and you'll might be able to get some first hand advice right in your pasture.

    As far as using liquid fertilizer as a carrier, some herbicides are compatible and all herbicides will come with specific directions about compatibility testing and specific mixing instruction. For example, you can mix 2,4-D with liquid nitogen solutions but you have to mix the entire batch of the nitrogen soluting in your tank first, then mix the 2,4-D with water in a separate container and add it to the tank slowly with agitation. Banvel can be carried by most all fertilizer mixtures but you are supposed to mix proportionate amounts of all the chemicals in a 1 pint container first.

    Anyway, I think spraying should not always be the first choice for weed control but can be used when things are out of control. Establishing a good regimen like a few others suggest is the best policy of all.

    Good luck,
    Pete

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