Questions about reworking hayfields

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grubbie

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Not much of a farmer,....I have some hayfields that need re-worked. Getting lots of thistle, which we spray the best we can, getting some curly dock, foxtail, and sagebrush taking over in different places. So if I want to re-plant these fields, what is the best way to do it? Keep in mind I don't buy expensive new equipment. I have a small plow, small disc. But I have no idea what kind of drill or planter to buy. Do I need to plow or do I just disc and drill? Will be planting alfalfa/brome mix.
 

Jogeephus

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If I was going to rework a hayfield completely I'd start by completely killing everything in it with a hot mix of Roundup and letting it die to the roots so when you kicked a clump the whole thing would just deteriorate. Then I'd plow it. How you get the seed out there will depend on the seed but some seed can be thrown out with fertilizer then disced in but this depends on the type seed.

Edit. I did this and it worked good. Kill it with roundup sometime before fall. Let stuff break down. Harrow it and plant a winter crop like rye or something. Graze it. When spring comes let the volunteer seed bank sprout and green up and spray again. Lightly harrow and plant seed or no till seed in. (somewhere in there I took a soil test too)
 

hillsdown

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Hello Grubbie, this is Mr HD replying. Recommend killing whatever is growing there in the fall using a herbicide like roundup or maverick. I missed this step myself because Mrs HD still wanted her cows to graze this 30 acres as long as possible. But I definitely recommend killing what's still there. I then worked it once with a 10' offset disc using a IH 1586 tractor (161 hp) We have fairly hilly land, so to break the sod you need horsepower. Next step was to spread all of last winters manure on this thirty acres, followed by another run with the offset disc. I left it like this over the winter, to let the frost break up all the big lumps. First thing I did this spring was to work it one more time with the offset disc, and followed that with a run with a 24' cultivator with mounted three bar harrows. Then it was time to seed it. I seeded it to alfalfa timothy orchard mix underseeded with oats. What I use to seed is a spinnerstyle fertilizer spreader. I rent it from the local fertilizer dude for about $80 a day. I take my seed over to the fertilizer place and have them blend the seed with a basic mix of fertilizer and load it in the spreader, which I then pull home with my truck, hook it up to the tractor and wait for a nice quit evening with very little or no wind and broadcast the seed along with the fertilizer. If you're gonna do it this way, keep in mind to keep your row distances shorter than you would with only fertilizer because the seed is lighter and doesn't fly as far. Next I harrow it once and then load the oats covercrop in the fertilizer spreader and spread that, and harrow again for two or three passes until it is nice and level. Last step is to use a landroller and roll the rocks down. I hope this will help you out. It seems like a lot of work, but it works here in Alberta.
 

msscamp

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grubbie":1vihsihp said:
Not much of a farmer,....I have some hayfields that need re-worked. Getting lots of thistle, which we spray the best we can, getting some curly dock, foxtail, and sagebrush taking over in different places. So if I want to re-plant these fields, what is the best way to do it? Keep in mind I don't buy expensive new equipment. I have a small plow, small disc. But I have no idea what kind of drill or planter to buy. Do I need to plow or do I just disc and drill? Will be planting alfalfa/brome mix.

You might not need to do either - foxtail has a specific growth pattern, is easily controlled with round-up, and doesn't have to affect the other grasses growing. I'm not familiar with curly dock, so I can't comment on that. Canadian Thistle can be controlled by 2-4D combined with Banvile. Neither one will kill out your grasses, and can be applied with a sprayer on the back of a 4-wheeler. Most other thistle can be controlled by simply cutting them off at the root with a shovel prior to blooming. Yes, it is a little labor intensive but, depending on your infestation level, could be doable. I would also be very mindfull of who I bought hay from, as that is a major source of bringing everything your battling onto a place.
 

dun

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When you throw the sage brush in you kind of move out of the roundup only sphere. Roundup and Remedy in the fall then again in the spring. The double burn down is almost a necessity with planting alfalfa.
 

Angus Cowman

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I have had better luck with planting my alfalfa by doing it kinda like Mr HD but nstead of letting the ground set all winter I will plant rye for 2 yrs it seems to make the weeds and grasses a little easier to control plus it let me get my fields a little smoother by working the soil up for a couple of yrs
 

grannysoo

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I'm pretty much in agreement with everything stated above. My only suggestion to you is to check with one of the "big boys" in the alfalfa/hay business. They probably have the equipment to come plant and can do it faster and cheaper than you can.

Nothing better than experience and the proper equipment to get the job done right. You prep it and let them plant it.
 

talldog

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grannysoo":35xgydql said:
I'm pretty much in agreement with everything stated above. My only suggestion to you is to check with one of the "big boys" in the alfalfa/hay business. They probably have the equipment to come plant and can do it faster and cheaper than you can.

Nothing better than experience and the proper equipment to get the job done right. You prep it and let them plant it.

NO truer words of advise were ever given !! :tiphat:
 
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grubbie

grubbie

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Thanks for all the replies, very detailed. The first thing I realize after reading them is that I don't have the time or the equipment to do much about this for now. We grow our own hay here, don't buy any. We have someone put it up on shares and he reworks a field every now and then. There was just one field I was looking at doing myself. All I have for farm equipment is a two bottom plow and an 8 foot disc. In the process of building a spike tooth harrow, and my biggest tractor is about 65 HP. They work okay, but this particular field is around 40 acres, and the ground is HARD. It would take forever to work this field with that equipment. I guess this project is on the back burner for now, but thanks again for the replies.
 

1982vett

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Angus Cowman":2ab2qpis said:
I have had better luck with planting my alfalfa by doing it kinda like Mr HD but nstead of letting the ground set all winter I will plant rye for 2 yrs it seems to make the weeds and grasses a little easier to control plus it let me get my fields a little smoother by working the soil up for a couple of yrs

Grubbie, A 65hp tractor can do the work, you just have to size the equipment to it. A 5 point chisel plow and a little moisture should work fine. Get it broke and disc it. 40 acres is a long way to go with small equipment by today's standards, but it was done that way for years and years with smaller tractors the 65 horses.
 

msscamp

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grubbie":2k5jdwa7 said:
It would take forever to work this field with that equipment. I guess this project is on the back burner for now, but thanks again for the replies.

Not necessarily. You might want to think about reworking your shares agreement for one year, and talk to the guy who does most of your hay about reworking this field for you.
 

BeefmasterB

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hillsdown":1ba1pr7c said:
Hello Grubbie, this is Mr HD replying. Recommend killing whatever is growing there in the fall using a herbicide like roundup or maverick. I missed this step myself because Mrs HD still wanted her cows to graze this 30 acres as long as possible. But I definitely recommend killing what's still there. I then worked it once with a 10' offset disc using a IH 1586 tractor (161 hp) We have fairly hilly land, so to break the sod you need horsepower. Next step was to spread all of last winters manure on this thirty acres, followed by another run with the offset disc. I left it like this over the winter, to let the frost break up all the big lumps. First thing I did this spring was to work it one more time with the offset disc, and followed that with a run with a 24' cultivator with mounted three bar harrows. Then it was time to seed it. I seeded it to alfalfa timothy orchard mix underseeded with oats. What I use to seed is a spinnerstyle fertilizer spreader. I rent it from the local fertilizer dude for about $80 a day. I take my seed over to the fertilizer place and have them blend the seed with a basic mix of fertilizer and load it in the spreader, which I then pull home with my truck, hook it up to the tractor and wait for a nice quit evening with very little or no wind and broadcast the seed along with the fertilizer. If you're gonna do it this way, keep in mind to keep your row distances shorter than you would with only fertilizer because the seed is lighter and doesn't fly as far. Next I harrow it once and then load the oats covercrop in the fertilizer spreader and spread that, and harrow again for two or three passes until it is nice and level. Last step is to use a landroller and roll the rocks down. I hope this will help you out. It seems like a lot of work, but it works here in Alberta.

Finally, the truth is told!! :lol2: :nod: I knew there was another side of the story. Good advice, Mr. HD!

I would definetly get a soil test done to see what's lacking. All the tilling and seeding won't do squat unless the soil is made right first.
 

hillsdown

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BeefmasterB":38q453yr said:
hillsdown":38q453yr said:
Hello Grubbie, this is Mr HD replying. Recommend killing whatever is growing there in the fall using a herbicide like roundup or maverick. I missed this step myself because Mrs HD still wanted her cows to graze this 30 acres as long as possible. But I definitely recommend killing what's still there. I then worked it once with a 10' offset disc using a IH 1586 tractor (161 hp) We have fairly hilly land, so to break the sod you need horsepower. Next step was to spread all of last winters manure on this thirty acres, followed by another run with the offset disc. I left it like this over the winter, to let the frost break up all the big lumps. First thing I did this spring was to work it one more time with the offset disc, and followed that with a run with a 24' cultivator with mounted three bar harrows. Then it was time to seed it. I seeded it to alfalfa timothy orchard mix underseeded with oats. What I use to seed is a spinnerstyle fertilizer spreader. I rent it from the local fertilizer dude for about $80 a day. I take my seed over to the fertilizer place and have them blend the seed with a basic mix of fertilizer and load it in the spreader, which I then pull home with my truck, hook it up to the tractor and wait for a nice quit evening with very little or no wind and broadcast the seed along with the fertilizer. If you're gonna do it this way, keep in mind to keep your row distances shorter than you would with only fertilizer because the seed is lighter and doesn't fly as far. Next I harrow it once and then load the oats covercrop in the fertilizer spreader and spread that, and harrow again for two or three passes until it is nice and level. Last step is to use a landroller and roll the rocks down. I hope this will help you out. It seems like a lot of work, but it works here in Alberta.

Finally, the truth is told!! :lol2: :nod: I knew there was another side of the story. Good advice, Mr. HD!

I would definetly get a soil test done to see what's lacking. All the tilling and seeding won't do squat unless the soil is made right first.

Next time I need to proof read what he posts and edit it. ;-)
 

john250

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I've successfully planted into old pastures and old soybean fields. No till is the only choice for most of the pasture land here. That is for my area, but most pasture land is like mine. Marginal, steep.
Roundup in the fall (September, in my area) if you want to kill fescue. Don't spray when the fescue is dormant. Roundup label calls for 1.5-2 qt. in the Spring. Half that in the fall. I had good results with 24 oz the last time I did this.
I rent a Great Plains no till drill from the local SWCD. Like a rain dance, timing is critical. You need moisture to sprout the seed and get it established before a normal frost.
 
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