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Planned Crabgrass Forage

Douglas

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Anyone ever tried a planned crabgrass forage? I plant rye/ryegrass in the fall and simply disk and cultipack in one pass to stimulate the crabgrass in May or June. I seeded red river (very expensive) two years ago.This past summer we had good rain and 5.5 acres carried twenty cows almost exclusively from July-Oct without fertilizer. This came in very handy as I was renovating my fescue pastures. Below is from the University of Alabama:

However, planting crabgrass can also be a highly appropriate forage production strategy. Perhaps the best example is in fields in which winter annuals are planted on a prepared seedbed each autumn. The reason this works well is because the growing seasons of winter annuals and crabgrass are quite complementary, and it is relatively easy and inexpensive to establish a crabgrass stand as the following explanation indicates.

Once a good stand of crabgrass has been obtained and managed for reseeding in a given year, alternating with winter annuals planted on a prepared seedbed thereafter is a simple matter. Shallow tillage prior to planting winter annuals will incorporate crabgrass seed and usually result in an "automatic" crabgrass stand the next spring, even if no spring tillage is done.

Years of work with crabgrass by R.L. Dalrymple and others at the Noble Foundation in Ardmore, Oklahoma, culminated with release of a variety named 'Red River' in 1988. Because this variety is known to be productive with regard to forage yield, it makes sense for any producer who wants to plant crabgrass to purchase seed of this variety rather than take a chance on common crabgrass seed.
 

jj216

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I've wanted to try Red River bad but the price scared the heck out of me.Been way too dry the past few summers for me to stomach the risk.Also I was worried how good it would reseed on it's own since it's an annual.Convince me and I might take the gamble this year as wet as it's been so far.If you can run 20 head on 5.5 acres I'd dang sure try it.Thats unheard of around here.
 

Douglas

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jj216":37pzb48l said:
I've wanted to try Red River bad but the price scared the heck out of me.Been way too dry the past few summers for me to stomach the risk.Also I was worried how good it would reseed on it's own since it's an annual.Convince me and I might take the gamble this year as wet as it's been so far.If you can run 20 head on 5.5 acres I'd dang sure try it.Thats unheard of around here.

Takes a lot of rain for that to work and will not happen the first year. Also i have clover in my winter annual mix, so that probably helped. In a wet year it is unbelievable.The year before we had a drought (being from Georgia i am sure you remember 2007)and it produced about a week of grazing.I use dry sandy land for this. That makes is drain well in the winter for the rye and easy to cultivate each year. I wish i had some pictures to show you.

Reseeding is a piece of cake. All you need to do is leave it alone for about 2 or 3 week in Sept. It is almost impossible to keep crabgrass from not reseeding. Last year it went to seed without taking the cows off of it. People mow it down in their yards but it keeps coming back because it adapts and reseeds. The seed will stay in the ground for years and after a couple years there is a seed bank pratically forever. I have some crabgrass in my garden i fight every year.
 

jj216

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I think I might try it on a small plot .I guess 10 acres since the seeding rate is 5# an acre.I,ve got a spot in mind with a little bahia and regular crabgrass and lots of bare spots.I've got a few more ?'s if you dont mind.1-What seeding rate did you use?2-Did you use a drill or broadcast and drag or cultipack.3-Did you say no fertilizer?4- is your ph perfect(mine stays a little low but all I have is Bahia and it does fine)5-Where did you get it?(I've never seen it in a feed store,co-op etc around here.I see seedland sells it for 350 for 50#.Sorry to flood you with ?'s but if I'm gonna pay 350 for 50#'s my a$$ is gonna know all I can.
 

1982vett

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jj216":13xn6nkm said:
I think I might try it on a small plot .I guess 10 acres since the seeding rate is 5# an acre.I,ve got a spot in mind with a little bahia and regular crabgrass and lots of bare spots.I've got a few more ?'s if you dont mind.1-What seeding rate did you use?2-Did you use a drill or broadcast and drag or cultipack.3-Did you say no fertilizer?4- is your ph perfect(mine stays a little low but all I have is Bahia and it does fine)5-Where did you get it?(I've never seen it in a feed store,co-op etc around here.I see seedland sells it for 350 for 50#.Sorry to flood you with ?'s but if I'm gonna pay 350 for 50#'s my a$$ is gonna know all I can.

Just a little humor from the farmer in me. (Might be some truth lurking in their somewhere too)

Plow it up, chiesel plow it a couple times. Disc it flat. Fertilize it like you want to grow 200 bushel corn. Act like you are planting round up ready corn and spray it. If you get your rains you should have waist high crabgrass in about 2 months. :p
 

Caustic Burno

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I planted a test plot of a couple acres of Red River crab grass a couple years ago. Common bermuda is chocking it out the Red River was supposed to be invasive. Over the years I have tried about everything I finally learned to plant test plots, still nothing beats the common bermuda and Bahia strains here.
 

Douglas

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jj216":12v9u9z2 said:
I think I might try it on a small plot .I guess 10 acres since the seeding rate is 5# an acre.I,ve got a spot in mind with a little bahia and regular crabgrass and lots of bare spots.I've got a few more ?'s if you dont mind.1-What seeding rate did you use?2-Did you use a drill or broadcast and drag or cultipack.3-Did you say no fertilizer?4- is your ph perfect(mine stays a little low but all I have is Bahia and it does fine)5-Where did you get it?(I've never seen it in a feed store,co-op etc around here.I see seedland sells it for 350 for 50#.Sorry to flood you with ?'s but if I'm gonna pay 350 for 50#'s my a$$ is gonna know all I can.

I used about 5 lbs per acre as well, and the field i was using has some existing crabgrass. It is a very very small seed and has to be mixed with something. Some people use sand. Clean disked the field, then I spread it with a broadcast spreader mixed with fertilizer, then cultipacked. I don't have a drill. I fertilized at planting the first year but nothing the second yr. It tolerates low or high ph well but likes 6-7. Since i double crop with winter clover i try to keep the ph over 6

Here is a link to the noble foundation where initially got my information.

http://www.noble.org/ag/forage/crabgras ... g_rye.html

They have done years of research on crabgrass. I have read it all a couple times and will be glad to answer your questions as well. I am a big crabgrass fan.

The guy who developed it and sells it is at estel farm and seeds. They will send it UPS to you and send you an invoice:

http://www.redrivercrabgrass.com/index.php

Mr Dalrymple who worked at the noble foundation, is now retired, and he is great and will answer your question. Somtime he is away and you leave a message with the wife. He has a new variety he is selling as well but when i got mine the new variety had not been tested well.

The red river and common varieties mature differently so you can manage it to favor the red river and not the common. Common normally dies out in Aug. but red river last longer. You can keep it closely grazed until sept and the red river will reseed and takes over.

Edit: i just went to his site and it looks dated. I have more about estel farm and seed at work and will post it monday morning. The site does not show his new variety.
 

mobgrazer

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I don’t over encourage weed growth most of the time but I’m still working on a 4 year old gallon of round up concentrate. I have never seen 4’ high crab grass but my cows would give you there next born for few months of crab grass every year. Mine will eat the crabgrass before the alfalfa most of the time.

If I could burn off a pasture and chisel plow at 6” dragging some 10’ railroad ties. Rerun the chisel plow at 4” with the fertilizer spreader on the 3 point. I could cut the seed rate in half by mixing with sand for the first pass and mix it with leftover clover on the second. Don’t have a compactor but have a 15 foot sod roller that I can leave the middle compartment empty on.

I do have one pasture that needs to be releveled badly and this sound like a plan for me. If I missed something let me know. PH has been 6.5 in that field your years witch will help. The seeds are to small for my old drill.

Thanks for the good info...
 

mobgrazer

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This pasture has not had much work in the last 10 years. It’s had 18 passes with an aerator, 7 passes of lime, 4 pass of fertilizer, and 21 passes of over seeding that was mostly winter wheat and pasture grasses. It’s a mix of weeds, red clover, white Dutch clover, a few patches of alfalfa, some fescue, native crabgrass, orchard grass, johnsongrass, millet, I think it’s called reed canary grass but have never planted it, indiangrass, switchgrass, a bunch of weeds, and I’m sure there are a few more I over looked. I have a 10” layer of thick black gritty humus then red hard clay. It holds water well but dose drain before it puddles to bad. My fall soil test are good form the fall.

We have run out of winter stock pile 3 times in the last 10 years and this is where they ended up on rotational bails. It was going to get fixed last spring but had some family maters take control of our lives for a few weeks. This got pushed to the bottom of the list. There are 4 to 5” ruts everywhere and is not fun to drive through over 5 mph. Most of the time the regrowth rate is 40 to 55 days so I just tell myself it’s not the way it looks, it’s how happy the cows are eating it.

I would love to get in there and do a deep plow and then chisel and disk it smooth but the loss would be too high to what the gains would be worth. This is not going to be a production field so all I need is smooth, keep cows happy, and has a fast regorwth rate. It will end up as a mix of the stuff I listed above with in a few years. I have not found anything that will choke out everything with out using chemicals or too much work.
 

1982vett

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Mobgrazer, sounds to me like you have a good mix, something that should produce forage in just about any climate condition. To quote Caustic somewhat, embrace and use what you have.
 

jj216

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Thanks for the info Douglas.Ive been gone a few days.I'll take all I can get.
 

mobgrazer

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I only need a good looking alfalfa field. The rest are there to be eaten and to regrow fast. It I plow it to about 20” to mix up the clay then I do get better fields but have a 3 to 5 year recovery ahead of me. I would do it for an alfalfa field down the road but this will not be.

I’m fine growing weeds but you will never be able to tell my cows there weeds.
 

Douglas

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mobgrazer":23ie4ruo said:
I only need a good looking alfalfa field. The rest are there to be eaten and to regrow fast. It I plow it to about 20” to mix up the clay then I do get better fields but have a 3 to 5 year recovery ahead of me. I would do it for an alfalfa field down the road but this will not be.

I’m fine growing weeds but you will never be able to tell my cows there weeds.

Mob, i am having trouble relating to your situtation. Our soils are mostly sandy and dry but a few areas clay and one thing or another dominates.
 

BC

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I went to the Noble Foundation on a tour years ago to look at their Red River crabgrass. It was very impressive. They let it go to seed in August or September, then disk to plant rye/ryegrass. This plants next years crop. Key is to manage ryegrass to let crabgrass get some sunlight in the spring.
 

mobgrazer

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Douglas":3d6snr4w said:
Mob, i am having trouble relating to your situtation. Our soils are mostly sandy and dry but a few areas clay and one thing or another dominates.

I have a gritty red clay base with a 10” gritty black humus layer on top. It holds water but it dose not pool up like some soils. It holds water well but dose not get spongy. The only plowing this field has had was chisel plowing at 9” a few dozen times. The soil got this way because of the mob grazing. When you pick up a hand full it looks just like cow dung.

My whole place was row cropped for years before I got the place. It had a thin sandy top soil about 2” thick and the red clay under it. I have deep plowed other fields that I grow hay and alfalfa on but they took 4 to 5 years of mob grazing before they would have a fast regrowth rate.
 

Douglas

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Mob if you got a good stand of crabgrass the first summer and let it go to seed you would be in a good position to cultivate a time or two each year to rid your field of the other grasses. The crabgrass seed will stay in the soil bank for years, and you probably have a lot already. Even if you have to spray round up in June and kill everything, including newly germinated crabgrass, and lightly disking you have additional crabgrass seed returning to the top and it would take off. I would then recommend drilling rye and clover in the fall for winter pasture. It is normally recommended to not use ryegrass the first year as it delays the crabgrass getting started the next summer. No matter what you will have the land leveled up
 

mobgrazer

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Douglas":2vp3ikwi said:
No matter what you will have the land leveled up
Level land is good. I twisted my ankle to many times last year on that field.

In 2 weeks I will have 400 more acres that I will have to do something with. I have no idea what I will be planting out there yet. It’s been row cropped for 50+ years. I have to go map it and grid soil samples in a few hours.
 

nap

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I am wondering about the thermal tolerance of crabgrass. I am now rotational grazing through standing fescue paddocks and everything is going well, but the cattle are starting to get a little ahead of the fescue. I have clover and rye grass for Feb. and March. Would crabgrass bridge the gap between the fescue and clover? If not, does anyone know of any grasses that will grow from mid Jan. through Feb. I live in Southwest AR.
 

jedstivers

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nap":1z4qs6qq said:
I am wondering about the thermal tolerance of crabgrass. I am now rotational grazing through standing fescue paddocks and everything is going well, but the cattle are starting to get a little ahead of the fescue. I have clover and rye grass for Feb. and March. Would crabgrass bridge the gap between the fescue and clover? If not, does anyone know of any grasses that will grow from mid Jan. through Feb. I live in Southwest AR.
Can you plant wheat on any of that? I'm across the state and north of you and my wheat is growing even with them eating it, and it is only mid January. I have been pulling them out on the dry days and running them in cotton stalks so that has helped. The wheat is supposed to be 6" tall when you turn them in and mine wasn't that tall on 23 acres, the other 10 acres were.
 

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