Stockpiling Orchard Grass ?

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Stocker Steve

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I plant complex mixes that include fescue, but in most of my soils the orchard grass takes over after 3 to 4 years. I have some lush mostly OG stands that are about 30" long and 18" high. The grass is bent over about half way up. How well will something like this stockpile? My other late October feed options are oats/turnip pasture mixes or unrolled hay.
 
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Stocker Steve

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Thanks for the tips. Too bad fescue does not thrive here.

We have been down to 25 F so far this fall. Millet and SS based mix is yellow/brown. I think the oats and turnips mix is still alive. Rye is in slow motion, so I assume it is growing roots for next year. I will hit the OG next.
 
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Banjo

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Thanks for the tips. Too bad fescue does not thrive here.

We have been down to 25 F so far this fall. Millet and SS based mix is yellow/brown. I think the oats and turnips mix is still alive. Rye is in slow motion, so I assume it is growing roots for next year. I will hit the OG next.
Why does fescue not do well up there?
 
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Stocker Steve

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Why does fescue not do well up there?
Polar vortex cold and too much fall growth.

Fescue is prone to dying back during an open winter and/or if it is overgrazed in the fall. The more native grasses grow less above ground in the fall and thus are more winter hardy. Trade offs are a bitch... Meadow fescue was my favorite pasture grass but I have been forced to go OG.

The most common use for tall fescue here is in an alfalfa hay mix, and it will work for that 3 to 4 year period. Fans will argue that it usually grows back, but in my experience, the stand is never the same after getting burnt.
 
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BFE

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Thanks for the tips. Too bad fescue does not thrive here.
Most people around here say the same about OG. I tell people to plant fescue instead of a fancy pasture mix because that's all they'll have in five years anyway, maybe a little white clover mixed in. Maybe a little Red Top where not grazed hard, such as edges and ditches.
 
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Stocker Steve

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OG seems to really like high fertility. If you graze tall some of it will go to seed. So in our system after 3 to 5 years - - it fills in as legumes and fescue die out. After about 7 to 10 years on soils that have not seem a lot of herbicide -- you start getting patches of bluegrass.

So we now use OG & alfalfa based mixes on well drained soils, and reed canary & ladino based mixes on wetter soils.
 

gusea305

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OG seems to really like high fertility. If you graze tall some of it will go to seed. So in our system after 3 to 5 years - - it fills in as legumes and fescue die out. After about 7 to 10 years on soils that have not seem a lot of herbicide -- you start getting patches of bluegrass.

So we now use OG & alfalfa based mixes on well drained soils, and reed canary & ladino based mixes on wetter soils.
Why do you use Reed Canary? It is horribly invasive where I am but it is the first thing up. We try to eradicate it here. I could definitely use more info here.
 

Stickney94

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Why do you use Reed Canary? It is horribly invasive where I am but it is the first thing up. We try to eradicate it here. I could definitely use more info here.
Steve probably has his own answer -- but in SW MN/ Eastern SD generally, reed canary probably is easier to manage than in the NW US. In my experience Reed Canary tends to have peaks and valleys -- expanding in wet years and being out competed in dry years. Haying and Grazing certainly can keep it in check as well.

The state of MN definitely lists it as invasive and that it should be reported. Which is funny because the DOT/State of MN has the largest stands in my area (road ditches/wetlands).
 
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Stocker Steve

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Why do you use Reed Canary? It is horribly invasive where I am but it is the first thing up. We try to eradicate it here. I could definitely use more info here.
- Productive
- Sod forming
- Can out compete bluegrass
- Winter hardy (shuts down early and becomes unpalatable in the fall, exactly the opposite of tall fescue)

Ideal ap here is high meadow where you can grow branch root alfalfa with reed canary. Reed canary loves N. Take one cutting of hay early and then graze it during the summer slump to level out pasture forage availability.

I would not want all reed canary but it has its place.
 
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gusea305

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- Productive
- Sod forming
- Can out compete bluegrass
- Winter hardy (shuts down early and becomes unpalatable in the fall, exactly the opposite of tall fescue, trade offs...)

Ideal ap here is high meadow where you can grow branch root alfalfa with reed canary. Take one cutting of hay early and then graze it during the summer slump to level out pasture forage availability.
Here it out competes everything and gets 6 ft tall. It was originally brought here because of how early it comes up. We can graze it at the end of February beginning of March but it is usually too wet to turn them out.
 
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Stocker Steve

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Here it out competes everything and gets 6 ft tall. It was originally brought here because of how early it comes up. We can graze it at the end of February beginning of March but it is usually too wet to turn them out.
Need to cut first crop before it gets so rank. Then it becomes much more leafy and good grazing.

There was some data published on yield from various grasses due to number of cutting per year. I recall it went up from 2 to 5 cuttings per year. At 2 cuttings reed canary was the clear production leader. As the number of cutting went up - - its production declined to about average. A classic quantity vs. quality trade off.
 

Stickney94

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Need to cut first crop before it gets so rank. Then it becomes much more leafy and good grazing.

There was some data published on yield from various grasses due to number of cutting per year. I recall it went up from 2 to 5 cuttings per year. At 2 cuttings reed canary was the clear production leader. As the number of cutting went up - - its production declined to about average. A classic quantity vs. quality trade off.
Steve -- was wondering how you were managing it -- how early do you cut your reed canary? (or do you just graze it?)
 
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