Fertilizing Hay/Pasture Land and Winter Grass

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Bamadan

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I have some pasture land that I closed off to cut for hay. Had hoped for two cuttings, but because of the wettest summer ever and some other things, we got it rolled today. In the spring I put 150lb of nitrogen per acre on it and that really helped our hay. I plan to turn the cows back on this pasture this winter I’m thinking bout fertilizing it the first of next week.

My question: without a soil test, what would you suggest putting on it? There is some Bermuda grass but mostly it is fescue.

Also, for several years I have over seeded part of our pasture land for winter grazing. I sow winter rye and have good results, but the last two years the winter rye has not done well. Any suggestions on winter grazing? Note: I’ve never drilled winter grass, just broadcast it and had good results.

You folks are smarter than me, so feel free to share your ideas!

Thanks
 

SmokinM

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My question would be why not soil test? They are cheap or even free in some states and they can save you a fortune in fertilizer you don’t need. Without a test if it is primarily fescue I would put @ 50# of nitrogen on it and stockpile. 150# of nitrogen in a single application is overkill and a lot probably did not get used. Generally you would put between 50-70# on at a time. Also overseeing winter grazing in a fescue pasture seems counterproductive to me. Stockpile it let them graze it down. Just my $.02 and it may be overpriced.
 

kenny thomas

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My question would be why not soil test? They are cheap or even free in some states and they can save you a fortune in fertilizer you don’t need. Without a test if it is primarily fescue I would put @ 50# of nitrogen on it and stockpile. 150# of nitrogen in a single application is overkill and a lot probably did not get used. Generally you would put between 50-70# on at a time. Also overseeing winter grazing in a fescue pasture seems counterproductive to me. Stockpile it let them graze it down. Just my $.02 and it may be overpriced.
Totally agree. Without a soil test you have no clue of what's needed. When you say 150lb per acre I'm assuming you are referring to 150lb of 34-0-0 and if so that's 51lb of actual nitrogen. If soil tests show everything else is good, fescue will stockpile and make great winter grazing. I spread 125 lb per acre of 46-0-0 Urea last weekend and will begin strip grazing December 20th.
 

ClinchValley86

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I broadcast annual ryegrass on half our farm 2 weeks ago. I think I've got the ground in good enough shape that it will succeed without fertilize. But will likely regret that decision.

I am a big fan of annual ryegrass. Seems to come up well. I spread it, then bush hogging, then drag if I feel it's necessary.

Kenny Thomas is the fall stockpile wizard. He knows his stuff.

P and K do well when applied in Fall I hear. A bump of N couldn't hurt anything either.
 

ClinchValley86

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I have considered the ryegrass but decided my fescue is so thick I didn't think the ryegrass could survive and grow. What's your thought.
Good question. I say you're correct. Definitely wouldn't do much this Fall. But then again, mine won't either if it doesn't rain.

I do think it would come up over winter or into the spring if the fescue gets down to 3 or 4 inches.

It's always a gamble, isn't it...
 

FungusProudKY31

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On fescue, anything over 45 lbs/ac, if needed, will not be noticeable. There is a study that in adequately fertile soil or healthy soil (however you like to think) that N applications are a waste for fall stockpiling. That's what we see here: total stockpile without additional N.
 

kenny thomas

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My tests have not shown that with fescue. The protein will be 2+% higher and volume 3+ times more. I have covered strips in fields and the Ag extension agent took the samples so it would be a fair comparison.
 

Stocker Steve

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Hay and urea are both high priced here - - but some fertilization of hay, or fertilization of stockpile to replace hay, can be justified by a soil test. Fertilization of summer pasture is a different deal. Some common grass swards here do not respond well to NPK, so hopefully you have too much grass in the summer by stocking correctly.

My GUESS is 150# of N per acre is too much. Often renting pasture, minimizing hay production, and fertilizing improved stands to extend the grazing season is your most economic combo.
 

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