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  1. #1
    Gold Member
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    Default Pasture/Hay field maintenance

    I've got some pasture/hay fields that I want to maintain/improve. What are the preferred methods and tools? I have already done soil testing.
    • bush hog/clip
    • drag chain harrow
    • seeding: how, which tools?
    • lime/fertilizer: hire this out?
    • weed control?
    • aeration?
    • other?

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    Elite Member blueriver's Avatar
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    JD 5520 Montana 4340 Farmall Super C

    Default Re: Pasture/Hay field maintenance

    Quote Originally Posted by piller View Post
    I've got some pasture/hay fields that I want to maintain/improve. What are the preferred methods and tools? I have already done soil testing.
    • bush hog/clip
    • drag chain harrow
    • seeding: how, which tools?
    • lime/fertilizer: hire this out?
    • weed control?
    • aeration?
    • other?

    Thanks.
    Oh so many questions ... here's my thoughts. If the grass is there and just over run with weeds, come spring I would spray for the weeds, hire the lime put out per the soil test, order the fertilizer ... most companies will let you use their spreader, put out per the soil test and then enjoy the green pasture!!

  3. #3
    Super Member Farmwithjunk's Avatar
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    Where do I begin.....

    Default Re: Pasture/Hay field maintenance

    Quote Originally Posted by piller View Post
    I've got some pasture/hay fields that I want to maintain/improve. What are the preferred methods and tools? I have already done soil testing.
    • bush hog/clip
    • drag chain harrow
    • seeding: how, which tools?
    • lime/fertilizer: hire this out?
    • weed control?
    • aeration?
    • other?

    Thanks.

    1st. Bush Hog. That's almost a given. You'll need SOMETHING to mow 'em with, and a rotary cutter is the most common method.

    2nd. Drag chain harrow. I've never felt the need for one, but some people use 'em to keep manure piles broken up and spread. Let's call that one "optional"

    3rd Seeding. New we get to the "well, that depends" answers. Soil type? Desired crop to seed? Time of year? Soil CONDITION? You may do well with no-tilling. You may need light tillage. You may need deep tillage to break compaction. Those things dictate which method of seeding will follow.

    4th Lime/fertilizer application. Timing..... Are you plowing? Discing? No-till seeding? How MUCH fertilizer/lime do you need, and does it need to be surface applied or incorperated into the soil? Do you have, or can you rent the equipment needed to spread it? Or is it simply cheaper and more efficient to hirs it done?

    5th Weed control. First question. What are your problem weeds? And that has a follow-up question. What will your problem weeds be in the future? Those questions will determine how to treat. Are you up to the task of spraying? Or is that a "hired" job? Mowing frequently can help eliminate quite a few problem weeds. (don't allow 'em to go to seed)

    6th Aerification. Are you in a freeze/thaw zone? That'll take care of a certain amount of aerification the natural way. I've NEVER aerified pastures and always had green healthy fields. Let's tag that one "optional" too.

    OK.... I just threw more questions than answers your way. Lotta help I am. My suggestion? Get in touch with your county AG extention office and let them make localized suggestions based on what's available and what works in your conditions. Taking care of a pasture or hayfield takes a plan. But that plan needs constant adjustment. Crop science is a fluid subject. You can't sit down now and plan weather occurances for the next 10 years. It requires a person to "read" the conditions and results of the previous year's maintenance program to determine what to do THIS year.

    And then.... You gotta work with what you have to work with. Sounds simple and it is. If you don't have certain implements, and you can't get your hands on them, you must plan around what you CAN get.
    There are three kinds of men;
    1.) The ones that learn by reading
    2.) The few who learn by observation
    3.) The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves.

  4. #4
    Veteran Member pitt_md's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pasture/Hay field maintenance

    Another consideration is the type of hay. If your running alfalfa you will need to rotate in a different crop around the 5 year mark.

  5. #5
    Gold Member
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    Default Re: Pasture/Hay field maintenance

    OK, I've got the tractor and bush hog.

    I was planning to get a drag harrow, we got a pasture now with a couple of horses and there's a lot of horse poop out there. Also, my neighbor drags his pasture (cattle), that's why I though I would need one.

    I'll hire out the liming job, that will happen probably in the summer when the ground is hard. The lime guy said his truck that he will be driving around the fields weighs about 70,000 lbs when full!

    By the way, I'll be applying 2 tons of lime per acre, on 50 - 60 acres.

    I can order the fertilizer and they will put it in a buggy for me.

    What's involved to spray for weeds? This I don't know.

    We have a fairly good stand of grass now, I don't plan on plowing or disking.

    I have talked with my extension agent, I'm planning to plant some clovers, fescue, orchard grass, timothy (not all at the same time). Can I sow seed with a spreader or do I need a no-till drill? I think I can rent a no-till drill. We do have some areas especially in the horse pasture that are getting torn up and muddy, how should I sow that area?

    Thanks.

  6. #6
    Gold Member RWolf's Avatar
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    Current, Power King (antique), Soon to have JD 5103

    Default Re: Pasture/Hay field maintenance

    I use a 3pt spreader to spread seed. Since you have a fair stand of pasture now I'd seed and harrow and fertilize. If the soil sample comes back as needing more then go that route. I plan on seeding and dragging at the same time as the speader is 3pt and the drag will attach to the swinging drawbar. My reasoning for draging is my soild is so hard it will help to allow the seed to get into the ground and not just on top to be washed away from rain.
    2008 5103, FEL, 6ft. HD Box Blade, 6ft. Rotory cutter. And many more to come.

  7. #7
    Elite Member blueriver's Avatar
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    JD 5520 Montana 4340 Farmall Super C

    Default Re: Pasture/Hay field maintenance

    Quote Originally Posted by piller View Post
    OK,


    What's involved to spray for weeds? This I don't know.

    Thanks.
    The local coop here lets us use the sprayer if we buy the spray from them, they set it up, I mix the spray and water and spray.

    Also, when I put out liquid fertilizer in the spring they apply it and add a pint to the acre of grazon for my weeds. I really like this.

  8. #8
    Bronze Member
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    Default Re: Pasture/Hay field maintenance

    You should call your local Agriculture Extension Agent. They will have lots of info on this and usually hold classes and field days. They will have recommendations for your area such as plants and soil type.

    Scott

  9. #9
    Veteran Member
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    Mt. Ulla, NC
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    Satoh S-470D, Mitubishi FD 1450D

    Default Re: Pasture/Hay field maintenance

    Is your tractor big enough for the fertilizer buggy? Think about that buggy pushing you down a hill. Seeding should be done in the fall and probably with a no-till drill. Check with local NRCS (USDA) to see if they have one you can rent or pay a neighbor to do it. Like others have said, bush hogging and spraying should take care of the weeds. Follow extension recommendations on what pesticides to use and when to spray.

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