johnsongrass summer advice

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pdubdo

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Finally got my 1st 4 heifers on a 55 acre pasture. Maybe up to 10% of my grass is big stands of 5-6 ft high johnsongrass. There is no way my few cows are going to eat all of it this summer. I'm in southern Oklahoma. I've read lots of articles that say, "drought/freeze stress creates more toxicity/keep you cattle away from it during these times". But the only way I can keep my cows out of this grass is to pen them up and feed them hay. Here are my questions:
1. How much drought stress is "stress"--is 2 weeks of no rain gonna kill my cows? or is it when the grass starts turning brown from drought/heat?

2. I guess I need to start gradually killing off this grass (I can't just plow or spray, reseed and start over). Would you begin repeated mowing the stands this summer? Wait till Fall to attack it? Spot spray (which can cause plant stress)? Sell the cows and work on better grass, then re-buy?

3. For all the johnsongrass that's around, I don't hear about cattle dying off by the hundreds...how much concern/worry do I need to have about all this?

I know it's lots of questions-appreciate input on any one of these!
 

jehosofat

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Couple of things, Johnson grass is hard to kill out, cows love it. I have read all the stories about it, but have never personally known of a case locally where cows died eating Johnson grass. I would consult my local extension agent. Hope this helps.
 

callmefence

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Noble foundation calls Johnson grass the best cow food there is...maybe not in those words.
Purasic acid does not form in stressed grass. Nitrates can but usually only under heavy fertilizer and stress. Purasic acid forms in grass recovering from stress. Grass can be very drought stressed and be perfectly safe. The danger period is when you finally get the rain. You need to pull them for about 2 weeks. A frost that kills it dead is of no worries. And jg stockpile s well. A light frost is probably the most dangerous situation. If the grass strarts to regrowth after a light frost. Your probably not going to get two weeks before another.
So either kill it with Roundup, wait two weeks after your killing frost or plow it in.
Mowing it will only cause stress.
A flowering seed head, a boot, flagleafs are all signs of a healthy actively growing plant.
Cows eat Johnson grass before anything else. I bet they finish it up.
Many large animal vets do pa forage test. Check around...for PA you have to pull you sample and haul azz with it.

Please do your own research. But it's really nothing to be afraid of.
 

Brute 23

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When we graze JG I let them eat the leaves off then shred the stalks if there are any left. After that they will keep it mowed at ground level. It will be the first thing they hit with the slightest bit of growth.
 

Fire Sweep Ranch

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I was never afraid of it until last summer when I lost one of my good cows to it. There was only two small stands, and we had just moved them to that section of grass not an hour before I found her dead, laying right behind a stand of JG. She was only 5 years old, in great health, nursing a 4 month old calf and bred back 90 days (AI). So this year I am in an all out war against it. We bought a weed wiper that I am using, just used it for the first time a few days ago on the pasture they are moving into next. I need to go check, but I hope it took it all out without damaging the good clover and fescue underneath.
Here is a pic of her dead, behind one of the stands in that section of grass.
eg1kdy.jpg
 

callmefence

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Fire Sweep Ranch":r5z6n0ne said:
I was never afraid of it until last summer when I lost one of my good cows to it. There was only two small stands, and we had just moved them to that section of grass not an hour before I found her dead, laying right behind a stand of JG. She was only 5 years old, in great health, nursing a 4 month old calf and bred back 90 days (AI). So this year I am in an all out war against it. We bought a weed wiper that I am using, just used it for the first time a few days ago on the pasture they are moving into next. I need to go check, but I hope it took it all out without damaging the good clover and fescue underneath.
Here is a pic of her dead, behind one of the stands in that section of grass.
eg1kdy.jpg

I hate that. Are you sure it was Johnson grass?? P acid or nitrate?? what were the conditions. The grass in the foreground looks to be regrowth from a plant either damaged by herbicide or very extreme drought.
 

wbvs58

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Most plant poisonings occur when hungry livestock are put onto new pasture. Continuous grazing rarely causes problems especially when there is plenty of variety, probably explains why neighbours don't seem to have problems, they probably don't even think about it.

Ken
 

Brute 23

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Fire Sweep Ranch":1yobawsf said:
I was never afraid of it until last summer when I lost one of my good cows to it. There was only two small stands, and we had just moved them to that section of grass not an hour before I found her dead, laying right behind a stand of JG. She was only 5 years old, in great health, nursing a 4 month old calf and bred back 90 days (AI). So this year I am in an all out war against it. We bought a weed wiper that I am using, just used it for the first time a few days ago on the pasture they are moving into next. I need to go check, but I hope it took it all out without damaging the good clover and fescue underneath.
Here is a pic of her dead, behind one of the stands in that section of grass.
eg1kdy.jpg

Not saying it wasn't JG... but I had a cow that looked just like that laying in the grass this year. No JG in sight. Some times they just kick it.
 

Fire Sweep Ranch

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Brute 23":u9x96qd3 said:
Fire Sweep Ranch":u9x96qd3 said:
I was never afraid of it until last summer when I lost one of my good cows to it. There was only two small stands, and we had just moved them to that section of grass not an hour before I found her dead, laying right behind a stand of JG. She was only 5 years old, in great health, nursing a 4 month old calf and bred back 90 days (AI). So this year I am in an all out war against it. We bought a weed wiper that I am using, just used it for the first time a few days ago on the pasture they are moving into next. I need to go check, but I hope it took it all out without damaging the good clover and fescue underneath.
Here is a pic of her dead, behind one of the stands in that section of grass.
eg1kdy.jpg

Not saying it wasn't JG... but I had a cow that looked just like that laying in the grass this year. No JG in sight. Some times they just kick it.

Vet looked at her and said it was likely the JG. There is no good test for JG death, other than pulling fluid from the eyeball. I did not want to incur more expense, since she was dead. The rest of that year I just went ahead of the cows with the brush hog and knocked down all the stands before they moved in. Our patches have gone from a few blades here and there to all over! That happened over the summer last year, when we were shy on rain and everything was drying up. We had not fertilized, and that was the second time we were grazing that section for that season.
We shall see how the weed wiper works... it will be worth the expense if it takes out all of the JG, but that might take a few years.
 

greybeard

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good luck with the wiper...jg can be difficult to kill off with herbicide.

I used to worry about it too, till I followed dun's advice and let the cows eat it to the ground as soon as it shows up and soon enough, it was all gone.
We used to feed a LOT of jg hay back when the state and the powerline/pipelines used to let it grow on their ROWs and let people bale it.

Maybe it got into the elec fence and the shock gave it a heart attack???
 

Rafter S

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Fire Sweep Ranch":21xsdizo said:
Brute 23":21xsdizo said:
Fire Sweep Ranch":21xsdizo said:
I was never afraid of it until last summer when I lost one of my good cows to it. There was only two small stands, and we had just moved them to that section of grass not an hour before I found her dead, laying right behind a stand of JG. She was only 5 years old, in great health, nursing a 4 month old calf and bred back 90 days (AI). So this year I am in an all out war against it. We bought a weed wiper that I am using, just used it for the first time a few days ago on the pasture they are moving into next. I need to go check, but I hope it took it all out without damaging the good clover and fescue underneath.
Here is a pic of her dead, behind one of the stands in that section of grass.
eg1kdy.jpg

Not saying it wasn't JG... but I had a cow that looked just like that laying in the grass this year. No JG in sight. Some times they just kick it.

Vet looked at her and said it was likely the JG. There is no good test for JG death, other than pulling fluid from the eyeball. I did not want to incur more expense, since she was dead. The rest of that year I just went ahead of the cows with the brush hog and knocked down all the stands before they moved in. Our patches have gone from a few blades here and there to all over! That happened over the summer last year, when we were shy on rain and everything was drying up. We had not fertilized, and that was the second time we were grazing that section for that season.
We shall see how the weed wiper works... it will be worth the expense if it takes out all of the JG, but that might take a few years.

I've heard since I was a little boy that the best way to make Johnsongrass grow is to act like you're trying to kill it. If you really want to make it spread try plowing it, or discing it up.
 

M-5

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I'm just a dumb redneck but why would you want cattle that can't eat grass in your environment. I'm sure alot of deaths are blmed on grass that is actually due to breeding for looks and not for hardiness.
 

jehosofat

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:lol2:
M-5":2ius3ml1 said:
I'm just a dumb redneck but why would you want cattle that can't eat grass in your environment. I'm sure alot of deaths are blmed on grass that is actually due to breeding for looks and not for hardiness.

Need to have a section in EPD's labeled WTCE . . . . . . . .-2.7 on what they can eat.
 

M-5

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jehosofat":3puwdm3k said:
:lol2:
M-5":3puwdm3k said:
I'm just a dumb redneck but why would you want cattle that can't eat grass in your environment. I'm sure alot of deaths are blmed on grass that is actually due to breeding for looks and not for hardiness.

Need to have a section in EPD's labeled WTCE . . . . . . . .-2.7 on what they can eat.
No what needs to happen is pyss poor animals die. But unfortunately they usually have created offspring.
 

nocows

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We had a patch that grew a little more every year up until this last year we had only mowed for hay never ran cattle. Finally on about the 3rd year it took off!! You wouldn't believe the size of the patch, I took pictures I will have to find them and post a few.

Long story short I burned it down with round up and used the disc to turn the ground, to give you an idea of how big the patch was it took me several passes with an 18' disc. Once it was all dead and the ground was prepped I sewed some fescue seed.

It was at that point my wife's grandfather said I shouldn't have done that well I didn't know any better.........

The grass started coming in nicely I spot sprayed the JG that was trying to come up and so far it's been pretty good. We mowed for hay last year and really there wasn't a lot of JG anywhere in that field. I guess I must have gotten lucky because we have cattle in there now and I've yet to see any. I am sure it's there but I heard cattle will keep eating it down first and will eventually kill it out. Not sure if that is true or not either way right or wrong I seem to have made some progress.
 

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