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Dun...and Orchard Grass

Chuckie

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Dun,
We have a large field of orchard grass and clover. Seems early in the spring, we cannot get to the first cutting because of the rains, and temps are not warm enough for drying in between on the one week it might be dry.
What concerns me,on the grass itself is at the highest level of protein, just before it starts making a seed head, then the protein is pulled away from the stems and blades, and goes into the seedheads.

Once the Orchard Grass goes into the seed head, and the seed becomes mature enough, I am thinking that the clump of grass goes into a dormant stage since it has pulled so much protein from the clump. It's mission in life is over. Then cut it for hay later on in May, there isn't going to be much growth, if the energy is stored in the stems.

Now here are my thoughts. In the spring, right when I see the Orchard Grass starting the leaf casing for the seedhead, I will take a cutter and trim the tops out about 6-8" to keep the protein from going into the seedhead.

Some people here, are not in favor of cutting anything off the top of a hayfield before you cut it for hay. But Orchard Grass is somthing that has not made its' way here yet. Mostly fescue. I have always had Orchard Grass, And when I kept it clipped, it stayed nice and green all year long at about 6-8" tall.

I am still having the argument on cutting the Orchard Grass 4" tall. Some people just aren't going to be wrong!!!!!!!!
Please help me out here Dun!
Chuckie
 

Angus Cowman

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I am not Dun but hre is my 2cents
If you are going to cut the OG cut it at the top of the blades and it should start growing again just like it does if a cow is eating it off
this will only work if your weather stays cool and you are getting a little moisture to go along with it
JMO
 

hayray

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The protein does not goe into the seed head so your strategy will not work like you are thinking. The percent of protein in the stem decreases as a whole as the stem becomes more lignified by maturity creating a higher percentage of plant structural compounds. You are best to not damage your hay by wheel traffic and wasting the yield of the seed heads, they are palatable and are useful protein. Best to cut high enough to be above the growing point.
 

dun

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I'ver never goven any thought to clipping the OG prior to haying it. We flash graze it to keep as much of it as possible within limits so that it heads out a little later. Most of our OG is mixed with fescue so we basicl;y hay the fescue and the OG is just somehting in the mix. The brome we make small squares and sell to the goat folks.
So I have no idea if the clipping would help or not. The brome has already headed out and the OG is just starting to head now.
 

Chuckie

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AC and Hayray,
AC, I am wanting to keep the orchard grass higher because the protein is stored in the leaves, not in the roots. So, I will keep it a bit higher to let it have the energy to contiue to grow. But I do agree, it will continue to grow, just as if a cow were to take the tops out of it.

Hayray,
When the Orchard Grass is as tall as my shoulders, that is really tough on a hay wheel. It is very difficult to cure because of the bulk.
In this area, the grass has a green mature seedhead on it now, and it shoulder height. Of course, it has been raining, and again, the seedheads will be too mature, and it will all blow away. So much of the protein is gone from the leaves, and it looks to have gone dormant after seeded.

The argument on a hay wheel I do not understand. Dragging it over a wheat field with stubble 6 in tall,and dry soil, that seems to be something that doesn't phase someone to do, but everyone wants to cut their hayfields down to a military hair cut.

Orchard Grass is different from Bermuda and I guess from Fescue. I have never known Fescue to die from cutting too low. But Orchard Grass can become weaker or die if you abuse it, and the stand become weaker. Orchard Grass has not become popular here. Farmers like Fescue hay, bermuda and mixed grass hay. We sow Orchard grass, Red clover and Durana clover. It sure keeps the cows in good shape.

Protein is going to either be in the grass or in the seedhead. My thinking, (which can go out in space) would be, there is a lot more grass than seedheads. I had rather have voume protein in grass, than a bite of protein in a seedhead, that most likely would shatter.
Chuckie
 

dun

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Chuckie":1fezn374 said:
But Orchard Grass can become weaker or die if you abuse it, and the stand become weaker.

If I have a field that is predominantly OG I cut it the same as I do the WSG, about a 5-6 inch mower height. Fescue thrives on abuse but too frequent cutting at the lowest level will weaken it in time also. It's just that fescue is so mcuh more resilient that it will spread even if the main plant is weakend
 

Chuckie

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Hayray,
I misunderstood your wheeltraffic statement. I am discussing at times about haywheel damage, and my mind went immediately to that. But you are correct, at this point, which is way too late to cut it. This idea will be for next year. The grass is so tall and when it warms up, the seed head will start drying. It is a solid seed head no.
Chuckie
 

Chuckie

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Dun,
This year, it is too late to do what I am speaking of. There are no cattle close to this field, they are several miles away. This field produces so much hay when it is caught right. We can get 36-40 bales off of 10 acres if we fertilze it at each cutting. It has very good soil around it and the clover keeps the nitrogen to the grass. It is possible to get three cuttings off of it, if we have a few extra rains in the summer.
But as far as just cutting like a pasture, I want to cut it a bit higher. This can be done at a certain stage of the grass when it is younger, that will keep it from heading out so early.
Maybe when it gets waist high. Then by mid May, The temps, and some of the rain will slow down, and the hay can be cut. It was waist high by the 1st of April.

When Hayray spoke of the wheel traffic, I did not have problems with wheel traffic before when I planted Orchard Grass. It always springs right back up in a few days, even if it is left a bit longer.
Dun, do you still have that picture of your disc mower with the slide plate that you made to cut grass. I forgot what you said you made those slide plates out of, but I would like to copy that picture if you don't mind, to a disk, and put it back for a bit.

Chuckie
 

dun

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I'll see if I can find the picture or if I can get far enough back in the machine shed I'll get a new picture.
 

Cowdirt

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Chuckie":1eqxc0k3 said:
AC and Hayray,
AC, I am wanting to keep the orchard grass higher because the protein is stored in the leaves, not in the roots. So, I will keep it a bit higher to let it have the energy to contiue to grow. But I do agree, it will continue to grow, just as if a cow were to take the tops out of it.

Hayray,
When the Orchard Grass is as tall as my shoulders, that is really tough on a hay wheel. It is very difficult to cure because of the bulk.
In this area, the grass has a green mature seedhead on it now, and it shoulder height. Of course, it has been raining, and again, the seedheads will be too mature, and it will all blow away. So much of the protein is gone from the leaves, and it looks to have gone dormant after seeded.

The argument on a hay wheel I do not understand. Dragging it over a wheat field with stubble 6 in tall,and dry soil, that seems to be something that doesn't phase someone to do, but everyone wants to cut their hayfields down to a military hair cut.

Orchard Grass is different from Bermuda and I guess from Fescue. I have never known Fescue to die from cutting too low. But Orchard Grass can become weaker or die if you abuse it, and the stand become weaker. Orchard Grass has not become popular here. Farmers like Fescue hay, bermuda and mixed grass hay. We sow Orchard grass, Red clover and Durana clover. It sure keeps the cows in good shape.

Protein is going to either be in the grass or in the seedhead. My thinking, (which can go out in space) would be, there is a lot more grass than seedheads. I had rather have voume protein in grass, than a bite of protein in a seedhead, that most likely would shatter.
Chuckie

Chuckie, in middle Tn, most of us plant orchard grass, fescue and white clover in our pasture mix. We like orchard grass better than fescue for grazing and hay. Only problem is that orchard grass cannot not take the abuse that fescue can. Consequently, over time the fescue begins to dominate the stand. So it is not a preference for fescue that has made fescue popular but it's hardiness.
 

dun

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Chuckie":27l374dm said:
Dun, do you still have that picture of your disc mower with the slide plate that you made to cut grass. I forgot what you said you made those slide plates out of, but I would like to copy that picture if you don't mind, to a disk, and put it back for a bit.

Chuckie

I took some of the worn out shoes and welded this on them to raise them up, only did every other one

View attachment 1
 

Chuckie

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Dun,
That is a disc mower just like I need. It looks like the shoes could take a beating. Those look extra heavy duty. What did you make those shoes out of? I hope you don't mind me copying those pictures on a disc?
Do you cut all of your hay fields at that height or just the fields of Orchard Grass?
I really do appreciate you posting those pictures Dun.
Chuckie
 

Chuckie

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Cowdirt,
It is funny what a few hundred miles can change. Here we raise cotton, but 50 miles north, that is the cut off. Then 50 miles east of here, they can grow tobacco, and we cannot. I can tell the seasons are changing just by riding in a vehicle as you look at the trees and the vegatation.
The sun is a bit heavy on Orchard Grass here. But if you manage it right, it will work for you. The old school people that want to shave the ground, have trouble keeping a good stand because they thin out the field.
I do not care for fescue either. I know it is a good grass if you cannot get anything else to hang around. Except for Johnson Grass, that is the answer!!! But there are more nutritional grasses. Like Orchard Grass!
If managed correctly, and rains come normally we should be getting a cutting in May, then another one, in before it gets really hot. Then one in the fall. But if the water is shy, then we get two cuttings. But the field makes so much more hay.

The main grass here is bermuda and mixed grass hay. The mixed grass hay is better than wheat straw. It usually consists of cutting a field for someone that just wants the height of the grass cut. One grass that everybody wants to kill is Johnson grass. It is such a great forage and hay product. So many people here have fought it for years in crops. They cannot let it go, that it is an invasive weed. Yes it is, but, it has the will to stay when everything else is dead. It is the first grass that cows go to because it is sweet and they love it. It grows very fast, and with the stand left alone, no fertilizer,it has as much protein and nutients as a field of bermuda grass with 100 pounds of nitrogen per acre. Just look at the volume of grass!! Pull a large handfull of Johnson Grass and a handful off something else, and see which one they prefer. We had a large stand of it in a pastuer and it was sprayed to kill it. Then some fescue and orchard grass was planted over it. Hopefully, the Johnson grass will come back. :D Why, you can't see it when cows are in there. They never let it come up because they nip it off as soon as they can get their teeth into it.
I guess I have talked this into the ground here at the house, that may be the reason it got sprayed. Maybe I should just copy the chart off and hand it to him and keep my mouth shut.
http://www.noble.org/Ag/Forage/Johnsongrass/index.html
Chuckie
 

dun

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Chuckie":2oa670vi said:
Dun,
That is a disc mower just like I need. It looks like the shoes could take a beating. Those look extra heavy duty. What did you make those shoes out of? I hope you don't mind me copying those pictures on a disc?
Do you cut all of your hay fields at that height or just the fields of Orchard Grass?
I really do appreciate you posting those pictures Dun.
Chuckie

Just the OG and WSG. Now I mostly just graze the OG though. They're made from 1/4 steel welded to the old worn out shoes.
 

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