newbie w/ native pasture

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pdubdo

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Got 55 acres of pastures that haven't been touched in over a decade. Been clearing pecans/oaks/locust saplings/plum thickets out on my days off, but plenty of open grasses: bluestems, johnsongrass, some Bermuda and several others. Also plenty of weeds-partridge pea, compass plant, ironweed, horsenettle (it's toxic), blackberry (low growing), ragweed, etc. Going for gradual improvement in the native grasses--don't really want to disk/till/clear-and-start over. I'm finally get cows on the place in September (going to under-stock initially) and my tentative plan is to rotate them weekly w/ portable electric fence, and then spray for weeds next spring. Alternately I could spray/spot spray each 7 acre section after I rotate them off, but it'll be ? wrong season. Does this plan have a decent chance of improving the pasture over the next couple of years? I'd love to see 50% fewer weeds next year and improve the quality of forage year-after-year without dumping a ton of herbicide on the place. Any tips/thoughts/constructive criticism? As an aside, I've got tons of wildlife of all kinds so I like having lots of forage variety in my pasture...just want to adjust the variety more toward cattle-friendly :)
 

lms0229

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I would look at adding a multi-species approach as some animals like certain plants over others. And spraying for weeds (herbicides) seems to be counterproductive to your intentions. If you allow your animals to fully graze then your weeds should be pushed out by your native grasses. Every year the weeds will become less and less. Either pull the unwanted weeds by hand or get a torch made for spot burning weeds, allow for multi-species grazing, don't allow for the animals to be selective of their forage by increasing your animal density and rotating often but allowing optimally 6 months between (meaning after pasture 1 was grazed wait 6 months before reintroducing the animals back on there), and you may want to spread seed to snuff out any additional weeds.
 

BC

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As Jo said, a soil test is a good place to start. I would consider using GrazonNext soon to allow more grass to grow and to prevent the weeds you have now from going to seed. Texas A&M did a study back in the early 1990's that showed for every 1 lb of weed you controlled you could grow a lb of grass ( http://forages.tamu.edu/PDF/BadeInfo1.pdf ) There is also work that shows using herbicides is also less expensive than mowing.
 

bird dog

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I agree with BC. I would go ahead and spray it. Once you get into July you will get to where you don't get the full value of the soil residual in GrazonNext so if you can't do it pretty quick, I would just use a cheaper 2 4 D product and the use the grazon next spring. The weeds and brush get a lot tougher in late summer and are harder to kill.

Tell us where you are at so we can be more helpful.
 

Brute 23

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bird dog":1znxuwfq said:
I agree with BC. I would go ahead and spray it. Once you get into July you will get to where you don't get the full value of the soil residual in GrazonNext so if you can't do it pretty quick, I would just use a cheaper 2 4 D product and the use the grazon next spring. The weeds and brush get a lot tougher in late summer and are harder to kill.

Tell us where you are at so we can be more helpful.

Yup, where are you located? Growing grass is not enough to control the weeds and woody plants in a lot of areas. I would get to spraying right now if have been getting any moisture. No need to wait until the spring.
 
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pdubdo

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Thanks for all the input! south central Oklahoma-just off the red river. Soil has pretty high sand content (not red clay)-lots of horse guys in my area.
 

Allenw

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Put cattle on in late Oct. early Nov. graze it hard until about wheat harvest and pull off. Pull off earlier if you don't have a cheat in the pasture.
 

RanchMan90

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pdubdo":2mo3b5kn said:
Thanks for all the input! south central Oklahoma-just off the red river. Soil has pretty high sand content (not red clay)-lots of horse guys in my area.
Near Winstar? Spray pasture with 2-4-d, spray fence rows and sprouts, berries, briars, etc with tordon, put a tight fence around it to start with. :2cents:
 

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