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Using Your Tractor & Crop Talk

Discussion Board - Hay Field - Starting From Scratch - Questions

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Bill Va

07-25-2014 10:38:11
64.203.161.228



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We've got two fields typically we have mowed with a bush hog, one 5 acres and the other 7 acres. Use to have it mowed for hay, but due to circumstances beyond our control, for the past 10 or so years, no hay has been produced. The fields have either been let go to seed or bush hogged. IMHO - the fields are now trash. Nothing really desirable to salvage.

I want to put my two teenage boys to work behind a square baler for the experience of it and let them make a few bucks in the process with Dad taking whatever hit to the wallet to get them going. Of course, Dad will be setting in the tractor seat...

So we are in late July. Just sent off soil samples to see what needs to be fixed. We are in the western VA mountains. What I'd like to do is begin reclaiming these fields for hay cutting next spring.

Question is - where to start and when. Do we have time to kill to dirt our existing fields, as required, lime and fertilize and reseed before frost sets-in later this fall. One field will be 100% Timothy and the other 100% Orchard grass. The target customer are horse owners.

Me and the boys are reading as much as possible, as well as talking to others, to be informed as possible ahead of time.

Any advice would be much appreciated.

Thanks!
Bill

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kyhayman

08-10-2014 13:46:32
72.173.48.155



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 Re: Hay Field - Starting From Scratch - Questions in reply to Bill Va, 07-25-2014 10:38:11  
I like the monoculture of OG and Tim, one in each field. Even with a total burn down you are going to have a lot of weed seed. I'd plan on a 2,4D spraying in spring and perhaps a Plateau spraying in the fall to control fescue. Thats the real key to getting and keeping ultra clean fescue free fields in places its native to. You've got to be careful though, Plateau takes GPS calibration on a sprayer to pluck out fescue and keep tim and OG.

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donjr

07-30-2014 19:20:31
71.246.95.83



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 Re: Hay Field - Starting From Scratch - Questions in reply to Bill Va, 07-25-2014 10:38:11  
Just a suggestion, Bill. Cut your drill back to half rate and drill the field twice at about a 45 degree angle. The grass will come in much thicker when it starts....



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Bill Va

08-04-2014 10:18:02
76.3.243.86



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 Re: Hay Field - Starting From Scratch - Questions in reply to donjr, 07-30-2014 19:20:31  
Good advice. I had read somewhere to do that with a criss-cross pattern.

Thanks!
Bill



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GordoSD

07-27-2014 19:10:46
216.106.241.22



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 Re: Hay Field - Starting From Scratch - Questions in reply to Bill Va, 07-25-2014 10:38:11  
If you can drill the grass in then burn it down and plant. But, if you have to til it, spread your fertilizer, til. wait and then spray/ Tilling will bring up a host of dormant weed seeds that you will need to kill.



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Bill Va

07-28-2014 17:52:55
70.208.130.46



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 Re: Hay Field - Starting From Scratch - Questions in reply to GordoSD, 07-27-2014 19:10:46  
Thanks!

We definitely want to no till and drill the seeds.



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Bill Va

07-27-2014 16:22:31
64.203.161.210



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 Re: Hay Field - Starting From Scratch - Questions in reply to Bill Va, 07-25-2014 10:38:11  
Update: Had the local extension agent out and based on his comments and others, we are going to spray these fields and kill everything - start over.

One field will be 100% Orchard Grass and the other will be 100% Timothy. The extension agent helped me take the appropriate soil samples and I sent them in for analysis. Whatever I lime and fertilize, it will be driven by the soil test results.

Thanks again everyone!

Bill

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hayray

07-26-2014 06:11:00
107.35.146.20



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 Re: Hay Field - Starting From Scratch - Questions in reply to Bill Va, 07-25-2014 10:38:11  
Look up planting dates prior to killing frost for forage crops in your area. For example, in my area of southeast Michigan most forage crops should be planted about 6-7 weeks before killing frost to ensure proper root growth for winter survival. So make sure you plant soon enough. Generally plan on taking a good 2 to 3 weeks before planting at least as sod may take a lot of multiple passes to cut roots and clumps up properly.

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Bill Va

07-27-2014 16:13:11
64.203.161.210



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 Re: Hay Field - Starting From Scratch - Questions in reply to hayray, 07-26-2014 06:11:00  
Hayray - thanks for the comments, very helpful!



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GordoSD

07-25-2014 12:38:48
216.106.241.22



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 Re: Hay Field - Starting From Scratch - Questions in reply to Bill Va, 07-25-2014 10:38:11  
Does alfalfa do well in VA. If so consider 50/50 mix alfalfa/OG or Alfalfa/Tim. After you put the fert on, have local BTO use his heavy field disc on it. Wait a month and burn it down with RU. Next spring use a finish disc on it. then a cultipacker. Then seed it, then cultipack again. Mow it early to get any weeds. Second cut should be great. Stand should last 10-12 years.



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Bill Va

07-27-2014 16:16:08
64.203.161.210



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 Re: Hay Field - Starting From Scratch - Questions in reply to GordoSD, 07-25-2014 12:38:48  
We see some alfalfa. If I were to venture a guess, field and deer population size may make it somewhat impractical to plant. Thanks for your comments!

Bill



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GordoSD

07-27-2014 19:07:49
216.106.241.22



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 Re: Hay Field - Starting From Scratch - Questions in reply to Bill Va, 07-27-2014 16:16:08  
Do a little commercial deer hunting? Big WT bucks are quite valuable. Up to $3000.; That's a lot of hay.



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mab570diesel

07-25-2014 21:52:33
76.6.162.116



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 Re: Hay Field - Starting From Scratch - Questions in reply to GordoSD, 07-25-2014 12:38:48  
timothy orchard grass is a good mix for horses, and the stand should last 5 good years,orchard grass probably double that.



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Bill VA

07-27-2014 16:17:53
64.203.161.210



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 Re: Hay Field - Starting From Scratch - Questions in reply to mab570diesel, 07-25-2014 21:52:33  
Thanks for the comments - very helpful!

Bill



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Eric Rylander

07-28-2014 20:05:42
69.136.36.18



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 Re: Hay Field - Starting From Scratch - Questions in reply to Bill VA, 07-27-2014 16:17:53  
I don"t know exactly where in western VA you are but I"m familiar with Lee, Scott and Wise counties, and have never seen alfalfa grown there. Just grass hay, and lots of horse folk wanting small squares. Good luck with the project, I am envious, for I have no land!



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Bill Va

08-04-2014 10:16:21
76.3.243.86



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 Re: Hay Field - Starting From Scratch - Questions in reply to Eric Rylander, 07-28-2014 20:05:42  
Thanks! I'm up near Roanoke.

Sometimes I describe this old farm land as both a blessing and a ball and chain. We are looking forward to making a few bales, or at least making a mess!

Bill



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