Pasture Planning Help

Discuss grasses and how to grow and harvest them.
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CokaColaCowboy
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Pasture Planning Help

Post by CokaColaCowboy » Thu Jan 24, 2019 9:56 pm

Young rancher here in Oklahoma just getting started and want to build my pastures up to their full potential. Have a lot of what I think are good ideas but wanted to throw them out on here with some guys that have experience so you all can tell me what’s good ideas and what’s not actually going to work. My place is just south of I-40 and the far East 1/3 of the state. We currently have about 1/4 of our fields in common Bermuda 1/4 in native prairie grass and 50 percent brush. The brush number is going down by the day as I’m clearing as much as possible this winter. The soil on everything is sandy loam. If it were your place and you planned to run cattle for the next 50 years on it what would you be planting?

My current plans in order:

We have a 40 acre center pivot that I’m disking this winter and sprigging in Midland 99 Bermuda in the spring. It’s fenced off and I plan to use it strictly for hay.

The common Bermuda fields I planned to just fertilize and spray and bring them back to life.

The areas that are in brush I plan to put in Wrangler Bermuda. This is where I have the biggest questions. NRCS office made the suggestion of Wrangler. They were against the hybrid Bermuda’s for grazing because they didn’t believe they would hold up to the grazing. Anyone had experience with Midland 99 for grazing pasture? Or is Wrangler my best bet long term?

Also very interested in B Dahl due to the fact that the fertilizer requirement is so much lower but my worries are the conflicting information I’m reading on how far north it will grow. Some of the seed salesman say I’m way to far north and some say South of I-40 it will be fine. Anyone with experience growing B Dahl in Oklahoma I would love to hear your opinion. The other reason I keep pushing off B Dahl is that my soil type is sandy loam. Anyone growing B Dahl on sandy loam soil and having success?

As for my prairie grass pastures: I’ve heard recommendations on this going different directions. It’s free grass in that you don’t have to fertilize and it comes back year after year. The production is low though and the protein is even lower so the “free hay” that I cut off of it every year has to be supplemented with protein. Would anyone recommend converting these pastures over? I’ve had guys tell me that is a cardinal sin and you never do anything to harm your native. I’m all ears and here to learn. I won’t take offense. Please tell me what ideas you think are stupid and what you’d do if it were yours.

Thanks in advance for any help and advice.



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kenny thomas
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Re: Pasture Planning Help

Post by kenny thomas » Thu Jan 24, 2019 10:25 pm

Your grasses are so different than mine that the only advice I can give you is to soil test. That's needed anywhere.
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Re: Pasture Planning Help

Post by T & B farms » Thu Jan 24, 2019 10:28 pm

I know next to nothing about Bermuda, I only have 40 acres of it. I highly recommend drilling wheat into it in the fall as the Bermuda goes dormant. As far south as you are and with irrigation, you could have some awesome winter grazing.
As for native grass, I would graze it rather than bale it. Native makes worthless hay. Far as I’m concerned not even worth the expense it takes to bale it. From what I’ve noticed in my area places that are still native grass are that way for a reason. Either very light soil, or highly erodible. If that’s the case, I would leave it and use it to graze, otherwise I would tear it up and plant something else.

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Re: Pasture Planning Help

Post by bird dog » Fri Jan 25, 2019 8:29 am

Leave the native grass alone for now. You have enough on your plate. Depends on the type but It is great to graze and the right kind makes good hay.
Dahl is a great grass but hard to establish, I would try something easier. Sprigging may depend on what your local sprigging contractors have available. They are probably your best source of information on what will work best on your land. Your ideas on the common bermuda are correct with an emphasis on spraying. As many on here have said, its much easier and cheaper to improve what you have than to start fresh.

My best suggestion is to not try to do to much at once. It gets expensive in a hurry. Clear some brush and see what works and then repeat or try something else. More than once I have spent a lot of money on land prep, seed and fertilizer only to not get any rain.

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Re: Pasture Planning Help

Post by 1982vett » Fri Jan 25, 2019 9:15 am

Changing mother nature’s mind on what to grow can get expensive. Rarely is it a one and done expense. Sometimes it’s best to learn how to manage what’s already their.
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Re: Pasture Planning Help

Post by Jogeephus » Fri Jan 25, 2019 1:54 pm

1982vett wrote:
Fri Jan 25, 2019 9:15 am
Changing mother nature’s mind on what to grow can get expensive. Rarely is it a one and done expense. Sometimes it’s best to learn how to manage what’s already their.
I agree. Having an excess amount of a high maintenance grass like bermuda leave much profit margin for a cattle operation. Personally, I use bermuda mostly for hay production since it will produce more forage than the cattle can eat when properly cared for. Failure to utilize the bermuda before 30 days or so makes it lose its feed value so you have basically wasted a lot of money on fertilizer. I prefer to have a balance between steady slower growing grasses that the cattle can eat before it goes rank and some bermuda which I try and harvest at its peak nutrition for use as hay. This way I feel I get the best of both worlds.
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Re: Pasture Planning Help

Post by sstterry » Fri Jan 25, 2019 4:34 pm

kenny thomas wrote:
Thu Jan 24, 2019 10:25 pm
Your grasses are so different than mine that the only advice I can give you is to soil test. That's needed anywhere.
I agree with Kenny on this. (I wish we still had a like button) Alway soil test and don't just uses. Most everyone in our area uses 19-19-19 which is not smart. I will defer to those more knowledgeable than I on what is best in your area.

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Re: Pasture Planning Help

Post by Ebenezer » Fri Jan 25, 2019 5:44 pm

On seeded bermudagrass. If you use on that is a blend which includes common bermuda as a % then you will eventually have mostly common bermuda. If you plant a strain of seeded bermuda that is an improved selection, variety or a blend of only improved varieties and not a blend including bermuda you will have a chance to have better pastures for a longer time.

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