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2Mares
Mar. 5, 2009, 10:33 AM
I have an established orchardgrass hay field in Northeast OH. Would you overseed it with Timothy or something else to get a better hay? I've heard that Orchardgrass is a pretty aggressive species and snuffs out Timothy. Is it worth it? Thanks.

Tamara in TN
Mar. 5, 2009, 12:08 PM
I have an established orchardgrass hay field in Northeast OH. Would you overseed it with Timothy or something else to get a better hay? I've heard that Orchardgrass is a pretty aggressive species and snuffs out Timothy. Is it worth it? Thanks.

we grow them together to keep up five cuttings...when one dies back a bit the other steps in and vice versa....ymmv:)

best

deltawave
Mar. 5, 2009, 12:36 PM
I love orchardgrass. Perfectly suitable hay for my critters--they get lots of first cutting and a fair amount of 2nd/3rd. How would Timothy make it "better", in your situation? More yield?

2Mares
Mar. 5, 2009, 02:10 PM
I guess I'm not sure if it would be better in my situation. Sorry, should have been more clear. I guess I'm asking would it be better to have two types of grasses for the hay given the vast variations in the weather around here.

SkipHiLad4me
Mar. 6, 2009, 01:34 PM
It would be ok as long as the two grasses complement each other and don't compete against each other. Are you looking to increase quality or quantity? Most of the cool season grasses will probably perform much like the orchard during the temperature variations.

2Mares
Mar. 6, 2009, 06:44 PM
More so to improve quality when conditions are not ideal. Orchardgrass has to be cut early when the weather is not always cooperative. What would not compete against orchardgrass?

MaresNest
Mar. 7, 2009, 10:50 PM
What would not compete against orchardgrass?

Bermuda, Bahia, or any other warm season grass. However, I don't know that you could get a warm season grass to grow in your area. Ask your county extension agent.

2Mares
Mar. 9, 2009, 12:52 PM
Pretty sure warm season grasses do not work up here. Any other suggestions?

SkipHiLad4me
Mar. 9, 2009, 04:53 PM
If you're wanting to increase quality, you could always seed in a legume, like clover. It won't necessarily increase the overall yield or extend the growing season. Warm season grasses probably wouldn't do much to help you anyway - by the time they cranked up in the spring, your orchard would be fizzled out and vice versa in the fall.

NoDQhere
Mar. 9, 2009, 05:04 PM
We have Orchard Grass and Alfalfa together and that makes wonderful hay. Our fields are irrigated and we get 3 good cuttings a summer. 4 cuttings IF the weather is PERFECT, which of course never happens ;).

MaresNest
Mar. 10, 2009, 12:33 AM
If you're wanting to increase quality, you could always seed in a legume, like clover.

This can make for really nice hay, but I'd recommend alfalfa, not clover. Clover is more difficult to cure. Also, clover tends to take over. If it likes your climate, you will have to overseed orchard every year to prevent ending up with a hay field that is ever increasingly clover and decreasingly orchard grass. The good thing about legumes in general is that they will add nitrogen to the soil.


Warm season grasses probably wouldn't do much to help you anyway - by the time they cranked up in the spring, your orchard would be fizzled out and vice versa in the fall.

That was what I meant, actually. One would grow while the other was dormant, so they'd compensate for each other's periods of weakness. It works nicely in my pastures - Bermuda in the summer, orchard/fescue in the spring/fall, rye in the winter. You probably could make the case that this isn't the best strategy in a hay field, though. I'd imagine it would decrease the yield for each cutting, even if it facilitated more cuttings per year.

SkipHiLad4me
Mar. 10, 2009, 12:50 PM
Good point about the alfalfa! I always forget about it since we can't grow that in our neck of the woods :)

NoDQhere
Mar. 10, 2009, 01:52 PM
Good point about the alfalfa! I always forget about it since we can't grow that in our neck of the woods :)

I have heard that before. Why can't you grow alfalfa there? Just farmer curiosity ;).

Tamara in TN
Mar. 10, 2009, 04:01 PM
I have heard that before. Why can't you grow alfalfa there? Just farmer curiosity ;).

in many places in the south it just does not get cold enough thru the winter and the soils are low in potassium,add that to high humidity that can be tricky to dry around and there you have it ;)

NoDQhere
Mar. 10, 2009, 06:44 PM
in many places in the south it just does not get cold enough thru the winter and the soils are low in potassium,add that to high humidity that can be tricky to dry around and there you have it ;)

Thanks. I've always wondered that! The drying never used to be a problem out here in the semi arid plains until last summer when our drought ended. That is the first year I have ever baled hay in the middle of the day. This year is shaping up pretty wet as well. I'll miss the tranquility of night baling. Well, maybe not so much :lol:.

shawneeAcres
Mar. 10, 2009, 07:16 PM
Well I think it is a bit of a myth that Alfalfa cannot be grown in the south, we are in HOT HUMID eeastern NC and a farmer here about five miles from me grows GREAT alfalfa hay. If you know what you are doing, and probably need a more heat tolerant variety it definitely can be grown here!

chicamuxen1
Mar. 11, 2009, 09:41 AM
You need to ask your local Extension Agent these questions or a farmer who grows horse hay for a living. You don't live in the south so the advice about the warm season grasses probably wouldn't apply to you. Clover can be hard to dry well although it is a nice mix with Orchard grass. Alfalfa drys a bit easier. I would suggest mixing Brome with your Orchard Grass. I matures later than even timothy. If you are having a wet spring and have to do that 1st cutting later on then at least the Brome part of the hay will still be good quality. 1st cutting Orchard often can't get made as early as you want because of the weather but Orchard, timothy and Brome all have similar food qualities. Brome however seems to be the tastiest of the three and has a nice wide leaf and less stem, far less stem than timothy has. Brome is a good grass for your area too. It takes a little longer to really get established so most farmers mix it into another grass so that the first year they have something to cut and the 2nd year the Brome comes on stronger. My horses prefer Brome over the other grasses, prefer a nice orchard over timothy too. Timothy is over rated IMO, too much stem, too fickle, not as many cuttings.

chicamuxen

SkipHiLad4me
Mar. 11, 2009, 04:25 PM
I have heard that before. Why can't you grow alfalfa there? Just farmer curiosity ;).


Yep the conditions are really not ideal here with the humidity and hot summers/mild winters. Plus it's an ongoing battle to control pests and that can get costly. It CAN be grown here in some parts of the state if one were to REALLY want to grow it, but it's really expensive to do so. Most producers in this area aren't willing to take on the extra cost and headache to grow it.

asb2517
Mar. 12, 2009, 03:38 PM
We have Orchard Grass and Alfalfa together and that makes wonderful hay.

This is what we have too. We live in north central Ohio and usually have beautiful hay. We usually get 3 cuttings.