land carrying capacity option ?

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jt

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alot of talk goes on about how to cut costs etc, and we all have to make certain decisions concerning our operations. a big expense in this business for me is fertilizer cost and i am interested in getting some comments from some of you on this.

the old saying around here is.. you cant afford to put out all the fertilizer that your land calls for.. in my area that would cost me about $100 per acre, or about 700-800#. fertilizing at about half that price i can run a cow/calf pair on about 1-1/2 acres.

i figure some of you may fertilize more than i do, and was wondering if it was paying off for you.. in bettter cattle, more cattle per acre, etc.. are you producing more $$ in cattle sales to offset the additional expense?

not sure i am asking all the right questions, but am interested in weighing the added benefit and cost of fertilizing to the bottom line to see if it is worth it. and was wondering if some of you had experimented with this and what your comments are.

i know lots of things affect carrying capacity.. drought, size of cattle, etc. but am looking for averages or info based on the fertilization part of this equation.

thanks

jt
 

sidney411

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I don't know if this can answer any of your question but we fertilized the hay field twice this year and got twice as many bales as last year with only fertilizing once. Also we had more rain this year - so I don't know if that has anything to do with the ferterlizer or not. sorry :(
 

hillbilly

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Jt,
Have you seeded clover into your feilds?
Our test used to call for twice the fertilizer it calls for now.
The only differance is the amount of clover in our fields.

Hillbilly
 
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jt

jt

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hillbilly":2vpj9rvx said:
Jt,
Have you seeded clover into your feilds?
Our test used to call for twice the fertilizer it calls for now.
The only differance is the amount of clover in our fields.

Hillbilly

no, but i have certainly considered it. things have been too busy for me this year and my cattle operation has suffered, but i am most probably going to plant some soon. maybe this year.

thanks

jt
 

jgn

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Right now with a small herd and several acres of land I have no need to fertilize. I cut more than enough hay and have plenty of grass for pasture after cutting so I can't justify the added expense of fertilizer when I'm all ready getting what I need.
 

Campground Cattle

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jt":eprt26z1 said:
alot of talk goes on about how to cut costs etc, and we all have to make certain decisions concerning our operations. a big expense in this business for me is fertilizer cost and i am interested in getting some comments from some of you on this.

the old saying around here is.. you cant afford to put out all the fertilizer that your land calls for.. in my area that would cost me about $100 per acre, or about 700-800#. fertilizing at about half that price i can run a cow/calf pair on about 1-1/2 acres.

i figure some of you may fertilize more than i do, and was wondering if it was paying off for you.. in bettter cattle, more cattle per acre, etc.. are you producing more $$ in cattle sales to offset the additional expense?

not sure i am asking all the right questions, but am interested in weighing the added benefit and cost of fertilizing to the bottom line to see if it is worth it. and was wondering if some of you had experimented with this and what your comments are.

i know lots of things affect carrying capacity.. drought, size of cattle, etc. but am looking for averages or info based on the fertilization part of this equation.

thanks

jt
\

We are not that far apart and I have always fertilized at 1/2 rates also 400 lbs per acre to control cost. This year was different with all the rain it was not enough or I was to late getting it out. I could carry a cow per acre fertilizing but as you stated I got burned in the 99/00 drought, ended up almost giving cows away. JT I run 25 to 30 mamma's on fifty acres. Note though I have nearly all bottom land and fair better than my neighbors during dry spells.
 

dun

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Fertilization can wait if your ph is within the range for the forage you
re trying to grow. I don't know what type of problems you may have with it. But I haven't been anywhere that didn't need some soil amendments to get the ph into the preferred range. It is the most expensive part of fertilitiy in most cases. But fertilizer will be far more effective if hte range is right for whatever types of forages you're trying to grow

dun
 

Hawk

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I am one of those that preaches about controling costs, but I do fertilize my pastures. Here in East Texas, most of our soil is on the acid side so we have added lime to raise the Ph, as Dun discussed. We put out fertilizer in accordance with the soil test in spring, once the coastal bermuda is actively growing. One ton of lime cost us $32/acre. Each ton raises the Ph about half a point. The composition of the fertilizer we put on the pasture is different from the hay medows, more balance, not so much nitrogen. Our pasture fertilizer ran us about $40/acre and I put it out myself.
 

Campground Cattle

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Hawk":1etavmom said:
I am one of those that preaches about controling costs, but I do fertilize my pastures. Here in East Texas, most of our soil is on the acid side so we have added lime to raise the Ph, as Dun discussed. We put out fertilizer in accordance with the soil test in spring, once the coastal bermuda is actively growing. One ton of lime cost us $32/acre. Each ton raises the Ph about half a point. The composition of the fertilizer we put on the pasture is different from the hay medows, more balance, not so much nitrogen. Our pasture fertilizer ran us about $40/acre and I put it out myself.

According to TAMU my pasture the last couple of years has called for 16-06-12. New soil sample has been sent off. Pasture didn't jump this year. A lot stayed under water an extra long time this year to the excessive spring rains.
 
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jt

jt

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thanks to all for the comments. the more i think about this the more i realize how complicated an answer to this can be. alot of factors involved.. i too got burned in 99/00 and it makes one cautious about adding numbers to the herd, but in years like this i could have done so without problems and that is kind of what had me wondering... if i put more fertilizer out, how many more cows could i run?

i usually spend about $40+ per acre a year on fertilizer and am considering some clover to help with the nitrogen. i think it is in the nitrogen area that i come up short. in trying to develope some pasture area i fertilized to total recommendation for a year or so, but didnt have a full load of catttle on it, so am not sure how much more it would have maintained.

anyway,

thanks.

jt
 

hillbilly

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Jt,

Talk to your county agent, he will know what programs are on the horizon for improving pastures.
They let me use a new no-till for free and payed for half the seed and fertilizer.
Dun is right about the PH thing, we had to put on a bunch of phoferous to get ours to 7.0
Once you get the PH right everything goes better.
Our fertilizer dealer sends off our soil samples for us, when he gets them back he calls with the plan. The first few years we could'nt do all that was called for but after the clover our fertilizer costs have droped to $25 ac. spread.

You have to replant the clover every 5 or 6 years[whenever they offer another program]

Hillbilly
 
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jt

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hillbilly":yr4sya50 said:
Jt,

Talk to your county agent, he will know what programs are on the horizon for improving pastures.
They let me use a new no-till for free and payed for half the seed and fertilizer.
Dun is right about the PH thing, we had to put on a bunch of phoferous to get ours to 7.0
Once you get the PH right everything goes better.
Our fertilizer dealer sends off our soil samples for us, when he gets them back he calls with the plan. The first few years we could'nt do all that was called for but after the clover our fertilizer costs have droped to $25 ac. spread.

You have to replant the clover every 5 or 6 years[whenever they offer another program]

Hillbilly

thanks hillbilly,

no help in my area for seed, lime or fertilizer.. maybe later if i am lucky.

i think you are right on with the ph thing.. i think i need to sit down and make a plan so that over the next 2-3 years i can get my pasture up in quality. it cost so much to do it all at one time so i will have to spread it out some.

you are further north than i am, and the clover you plant may not work down here, but what kind do you have? my seed man has recommended crimson clover.. i dont know much about clover.

thanks

jt
 

Campground Cattle

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jt":rlzcui5a said:
hillbilly":rlzcui5a said:
Jt,

Talk to your county agent, he will know what programs are on the horizon for improving pastures.
They let me use a new no-till for free and payed for half the seed and fertilizer.
Dun is right about the PH thing, we had to put on a bunch of phoferous to get ours to 7.0
Once you get the PH right everything goes better.
Our fertilizer dealer sends off our soil samples for us, when he gets them back he calls with the plan. The first few years we could'nt do all that was called for but after the clover our fertilizer costs have droped to $25 ac. spread.

You have to replant the clover every 5 or 6 years[whenever they offer another program]

Hillbilly

thanks hillbilly,

no help in my area for seed, lime or fertilizer.. maybe later if i am lucky.

i think you are right on with the ph thing.. i think i need to sit down and make a plan so that over the next 2-3 years i can get my pasture up in quality. it cost so much to do it all at one time so i will have to spread it out some.

you are further north than i am, and the clover you plant may not work down here, but what kind do you have? my seed man has recommended crimson clover.. i dont know much about clover.

thanks

jt
\

I have had better luck with White Dutch in our area. jt don't forget if you use grazon or 2-4 d your wasting your money on clover seed.
 
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jt

jt

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Campground Cattle":1gir2zpd said:
I have had better luck with White Dutch in our area. jt don't forget if you use grazon or 2-4 d your wasting your money on clover seed.

thanks campground.. i hadnt thought of that. i do use grazon on occassion..

these boards are great!

jt
 

hillbilly 2

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jt":dleaimcv said:
hillbilly":dleaimcv said:
Jt,

Talk to your county agent, he will know what programs are on the horizon for improving pastures.
They let me use a new no-till for free and payed for half the seed and fertilizer.
Dun is right about the PH thing, we had to put on a bunch of phoferous to get ours to 7.0
Once you get the PH right everything goes better.
Our fertilizer dealer sends off our soil samples for us, when he gets them back he calls with the plan. The first few years we could'nt do all that was called for but after the clover our fertilizer costs have droped to $25 ac. spread.

You have to replant the clover every 5 or 6 years[whenever they offer another program]

Hillbilly

thanks hillbilly,

no help in my area for seed, lime or fertilizer.. maybe later if i am lucky.

i think you are right on with the ph thing.. i think i need to sit down and make a plan so that over the next 2-3 years i can get my pasture up in quality. it cost so much to do it all at one time so i will have to spread it out some.

you are further north than i am, and the clover you plant may not work down here, but what kind do you have? my seed man has recommended crimson clover.. i dont know much about clover.

thanks

jt


We use red clover in our hay field and white dutch in our pastures.
I've heard crimson is better in the south but has a much higher seeding rate.
You can use selective herbacides or spot spray. We have found that the more clover is in a field, the less weeds are in the field.

Hillbilly
 

sillco

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jt":geq9jhua said:
alot of talk goes on about how to cut costs etc, and we all have to make certain decisions concerning our operations. a big expense in this business for me is fertilizer cost and i am interested in getting some comments from some of you on this.

the old saying around here is.. you cant afford to put out all the fertilizer that your land calls for.. in my area that would cost me about $100 per acre, or about 700-800#. fertilizing at about half that price i can run a cow/calf pair on about 1-1/2 acres.

i figure some of you may fertilize more than i do, and was wondering if it was paying off for you.. in bettter cattle, more cattle per acre, etc.. are you producing more $$ in cattle sales to offset the additional expense?

not sure i am asking all the right questions, but am interested in weighing the added benefit and cost of fertilizing to the bottom line to see if it is worth it. and was wondering if some of you had experimented with this and what your comments are.

i know lots of things affect carrying capacity.. drought, size of cattle, etc. but am looking for averages or info based on the fertilization part of this equation.

thanks

jt

Contact your county agent and sumit a soil sample for analysis. Plan to grow about 6 tons of forage per year per acre. The report will tell you how much fertilizer to apply to grow that much forage. Your will need to prepare a nutrent management plan to take into consideration the nutrents provided by the livestock, clovers and natural application so you won't apply too much fertilizer. Be sure to make multi applications about 28 to 30 days apart to keep the grass growing.
A cow will consume about 750 to 900 pounds of dry matter forage per month year around depending on your weather conditions (cool or colder). With the test results information you can plan on the correct stocking rate that can reduce your risk of drought and still optomize your income vs costs.
Good luck
 
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